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Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice will host a series of listening forums to hear from those who have experienced firsthand the effects of mergers and acquisitions beyond antitrust experts, including consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, farmers, investors, and independent businesses. The four forums will be held virtually over the next three months and helmed by FTC Chair Lina M. Khan and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Antitrust Division. The link to each webcast will be made public on the day of the event.

The four forums will focus on industries and labor markets that are commonly impacted by mergers that may reduce competition. The dates are as follows:

  • Monday, March 28 at 3pm ET – Food and Agriculture
  • Thursday, April 14 at 2pm ET – Health Care
  • Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30pm ET – Media and Entertainment
  • Thursday, May 12 at 2pm ET – Technology

The listening forums will be open to the public, webcast on the FTC’s website, transcribed, posted online, and included as part of the public record.

FTC Chair Lina M. Khan and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter will attend each event with staff from both agencies. At each event, Chair Khan and Assistant Attorney General Kanter will provide a brief introduction followed by remarks from each speaker.

Speakers will include independent business owners, entrepreneurs, farmers, workers, and other market participants. At the conclusion of the speakers’ remarks, members of the public will have up to two minutes to comment. Those who wish to participate may register to speak virtually at one of the events.  Due to challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, these forums will be held virtually.

The forums will supplement the agencies’ recent request for comments on merger enforcement guidelines to ensure that the agencies hear from affected groups who might not otherwise participate in the process. For more information please read the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division joint public inquiry aimed at strengthening enforcement against illegal mergers.

Speaker Bios

Introductory Remarks

Jonathan Kanter was confirmed on November 17, 2021, as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. Throughout his career, Mr. Kanter has been a leading advocate for strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy. Mr. Kanter has been a partner in the Washington, D.C. offices of two national law firms and was the founder of a boutique antitrust law firm dedicated to promoting antitrust enforcement. Mr. Kanter began his career as an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition. He earned his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.A. from State University of New York at Albany.

Speakers

Erin Wade is a farmer and restaurateur who has opened six restaurants and two farms (that grow food for the restaurants) in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Austin. She opened her first restaurant, Vinaigrette, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2008. Before her life in food, she graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and language, interned at Harper’s Bazaar, and studied fashion design in Milan.

Cheri Kiesecker is a parent and member of many advocacy organizations concerned about student privacy. She believes students (and parents of minor students) should control their own data and be notified of their ability to remove student data from an edtech merger or acquisition. Students should have consent over how their data is shared outside of school and should also be able to know if their data is being used to negatively profile, discriminate, or harm them

Rand Fishkin is cofounder and CEO of the audience research software startup, SparkToro, and previously founded and led Moz, a market leader in SEO software. He is also an investor in early stage startups and funds.

Bradley Tusk is a venture capitalist, political strategist, philanthropist, and writer. He is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Tusk Venture Partners, the world’s first venture capital fund that invests solely in early stage startups in highly regulated industries. Previously, Bradley served as campaign manager for Mike Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral race, as Deputy Governor of Illinois, overseeing the state’s budget, operations, legislation, policy and communications, as communications director for US Senator Chuck Schumer.

Saagar Enjeti is the host of Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar and The Realignment Podcast. Saagar grew a corporate media Youtube show from 6,000 subscribers to 1.35 million alongside Krystal Ball and focuses on the destructive effects of corporate media on American society.

Gayle Shanks is the founder and co-owner of two Changing Hands bookstores located in Tempe and Phoenix Arizona; her original store opened in 1974. She has been involved in many bookseller trade associations on the regional and national levels, including a stint as president of the American Booksellers Association. She is involved in city and state politics as it impacts small businesses and voting rights.

Jasmine Johnson is the owner of ParentCo Shop in Orland Hills, Illinois and a member of Small Business Majority’s network. Jasmine is an inventor of ParentCo Electrical Outlet Covers, a child safety product that helps mitigate at-home accidents among minors from electrical outlets.

Greg Caron is a 19-year T-Mobile employee at the company's call center in Colorado Springs. Greg has been an active member of T-Mobile Workers United for several years. In the lead up to the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, Greg spoke out on behalf of his coworkers about the likely negative impacts of the deal.

Closing Remarks

Lina M. Khan was sworn in as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission on June 15, 2021. Prior to becoming head of the FTC, Khan was an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She also previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and legal director at the Open Markets Institute. Khan’s scholarship on antitrust and competition policy has been published in the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, and Yale Law Journal. She is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School.

  • 2:00 pm

    Opening Remarks

    Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, Department of Justice for the Antitrust Division

    2:05-2:45 pm Invited Speakers
    2:45-2:55 pm

    Reactions

    Chair Lina M. Khan, Federal Trade Commission

    Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, Department of Justice for the Antitrust Division

    2:55-3:25 pm Public Comment

    3:25 –
    3:30 pm

    Closing Remarks

    Chair Lina M. Khan, Federal Trade Commission

  • Transcript - Files

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s comprehensive Privacy Policy.

This event is open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded. By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at ftc.gov or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.