With Google-ITA merger, Justice Department continues to expand monitoring of firms
Originally published: April 21, 2011
Last updated: April 28, 2011 - 12:52pm
The Justice Department recently concluded that a deal by Google to buy a travel search firm would “substantially” reduce competition, stifle innovation and leave consumers with fewer choices. Then it approved the merger — after adding limits on Google’s behavior that will require years of monitoring by the department’s antitrust division. In two other high-profile mergers, involving Comcast and Ticketmaster, the government threatened to take the cases to court but instead greenlighted the deals after laying out rules for the companies, which the Justice Department will now have to watch. Not since antitrust officials took on Microsoft in the 1990s has the department taken on this much responsibility enforcing restrictions on some of America’s most dominant companies. Some experts worry that the agency, now reviewing the blockbuster deal between AT&T and T-Mobile, is trying to regulate complex businesses when it should instead be blocking controversial mergers in court.