Bill to add muscle to antitrust efforts up for vote in U.S. House


Stock Markets 1 hour ago (Sep 28, 2022 06:25PM ET)

Bill to add muscle to antitrust efforts up for vote in U.S. House © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: General view of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote late Wednesday on advancing a bill that would update fees companies pay for merger reviews and strengthen state attorneys general in antitrust fights, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office.

The bill combines measures introduced by Representative Joe Neguse, a Democrat, and Representative Ken Buck, a Republican,

It would allow state attorneys general to choose which court they want to hear antitrust cases. Defendants would not be allowed to request a change of venue.

Texas, along with other states, brought an antitrust action against Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc’s Google in 2020 which the search and advertising giant succeeded in moving from Texas to a New York court, angering conservatives.

Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, joined with at least four other California Democrats to urge that the bill be defeated because of the venue measure. California is home to some of the biggest tech companies, including Google and Meta’s Facebook (NASDAQ:).

The measure also lowers the fees paid for antitrust reviews of smaller deals. But bigger deals will be more expensive. Deals worth $5 billion or more will pay $2.25 million to regulators doing the antitrust review.

The reviews are conducted by the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission.

The Senate has passed a bill giving state attorneys general the right to pick the venue for antitrust fights but has not passed a bill to update merger filing fees.

(This story has been corrected to update the lead to show the House is voting on advancing the bill, rather than taking a final vote, and to remove a typo in the headline)

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