Larry Summers strongly criticizes proposed acquisition regulations.

**Former Treasury Secretary Warns Biden’s Crackdown on Mergers and Acquisitions**

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has expressed concern over the Biden administration’s strict approach to mergers and acquisitions, suggesting that it may be perceived as a “war on business.” Summers made these remarks during an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Wall Street Week” with David Westin. He believes that the proposed guidelines, which shift the focus from lower consumer prices to broader abstractions, pose a significant risk. Summers suggests that this could have been an opportunity to rationalize the policy, rather than move away from consumer prices.

**Proposed Guidelines to Curb Dominance and Protect Workers**

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have introduced 13 new guidelines aimed at curbing the rise of dominant companies that acquire rivals in their industries. These guidelines seek to prevent a single company from amassing too much power and dominating a particular market. The agencies have invited public comment on this proposal for the next 60 days.

President Joe Biden’s administration has taken a more assertive stance on blocking mergers and acquisitions compared to previous administrations. This reflects a departure from the light-touch approach that has been prevalent for decades. The proposed guidelines are a part of the administration’s efforts to rectify this approach.

Under the new guidelines, regulators plan to scrutinize multiple mergers if a company engages in a series of acquisitions within the same market. Additionally, the impact on workers will be a key consideration if a deal involves companies that were previously competitors in the labor market. The objective is to protect competition and ensure that workers are not negatively affected by consolidation.

**Concerns About Shifting Standards**

Lawrence Summers raises concerns about moving away from low consumer prices as the central standard for evaluating mergers. Summers, a Harvard University professor and paid contributor to Bloomberg TV, asserts that this shift raises problematic questions. He believes that in recent years, there has been a trend of departing from consumer prices as the primary focus. He further suggests that the new guidelines seem to intensify this approach, rather than deviating from it.

**US Chamber of Commerce Criticizes the Proposed Guidelines**

The US Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business lobby, has strongly criticized the new proposal by the Biden administration. The chamber argues that the guidelines disrupt decades of bipartisan consensus on the economic benefits of mergers. This criticism reflects the concerns within the business community about the potential negative impact of stricter antitrust enforcement.

**Regulators Seek Transparency and Adaptability**

US regulators have developed the new guidelines with the intention of providing greater transparency to the public and companies. The aim is to provide insights into how antitrust enforcers approach the law and adapt to changes in markets and industries. Jonathan Kanter, the Department of Justice’s top antitrust official, expressed this goal in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Overall, the Biden administration’s proposed guidelines for mergers and acquisitions have generated mixed reactions. While some, like Lawrence Summers, express concerns about moving away from consumer prices as the central standard, others argue that stricter enforcement is necessary to prevent the consolidation of power among dominant companies. The upcoming public comment period will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to voice their opinions and contribute to the ongoing discussion on this matter.

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