FTC Announces Agenda for the Eighth Session of its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century; Session at New York University to Focus on “Common Ownership”

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The Federal Trade Commission announced the agenda for the eighth session of its Hearings Initiative with a one-day hearing at the New York University School of Law in New York City on December 6, 2018. 

The day’s panels will examine concerns that acquisitions and holdings of non-controlling ownership interests in competing companies, for example by institutional investors, may have anticompetitive effects. See detailed agenda.

Some recent econometric studies have concluded that when investors hold stock in competing firms, competition may be reduced among those commonly held competing firms. The Commission invites public comment on this issue, including on the questions listed below.

  1. What is the state of the econometric and qualitative evidence for and against the proposition that such common ownership reduces competition?
  2. To what extent do the results suggest that this harm to competition extends to concentrated industries more generally?
  3. Is any likely harm limited to concentrated industries or does it extend to holdings in unconcentrated industries?
  4. What are the potential mechanisms by which such stock holdings would lead to anticompetitive harm, and how likely are they to lead to anticompetitive results?
  5. To what extent do institutional investors have the incentive and opportunity to affect corporate governance, particularly regarding competitive decision-making? How is such influence exercised?
  6. What enforcement and policy responses should be adopted in light of the existing evidence?
  7. What additional research should be undertaken on this issue?
  8. What data would be most useful to answer the question of whether common ownership reduces competition in concentrated industries?

Comments can be submitted online and should be submitted no later than January 15, 2019. If any entity has provided funding for research, analysis, or commentary that is included in a submitted public comment, such funding and its source should be identified on the first page of the comment.

The following additional sessions of the FTC Hearings initiative have been announced and are upcoming:

December 11-12, 2018
FTC Constitution Center Auditorium

  • Data Security

February 12-13, 2018
FTC Constitution Center Auditorium

  • Privacy

The FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Request for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at ekraszewski@ftc.gov or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. Please allow at least five days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

Hearing #8 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century
December 6, 2018

New York University School of Law
Vanderbilt Hall’s Greenberg Lounge
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180

STAFF CONTACTS:
William Adkinson
Office of Policy Planning
ccphearings@ftc.gov