A Pandemic Is No Time for Corporate Mergers

Statement of Alex Harman, Competition Policy Advocate, Public Citizen

Note: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) today introduced legislation to halt mergers and acquisitions for large companies during the pandemic.

Public Citizen has been calling for a pause on mergers since the beginning of this crisis. This thoughtful legislation would give businesses a chance to regroup and recover from the downturn. It also would give regulators the opportunity to focus on a set of rules to govern which mergers should be blocked because of the possible impact on our government’s ability to respond to a national emergency.

We have already seen that a set of mergers in the medical device sector had a direct and negative impact on the availability of low-cost respirators. This legislation is the first step to preventing those types of disastrous mergers in the future. Corporate greed cannot be allowed to trump public health and safety concerns.