The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it will begin reviewing past acquisitions made by big tech companies, including Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft.
In orders issued to the companies, the FTC said that it was seeking “information and documents on the terms, scope, structure, and purpose of transactions” made between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019. This would include Facebook’s acquisitions of both Instagram and WhatsApp, and any unreported purchase made by any of the six companies the FTC targeted Tuesday.
The companies issued orders by the FTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Digital technology companies are a big part of the economy and our daily lives,” FTC chair Joe Simons said in a statement. “This initiative will enable the Commission to take a closer look at acquisitions in this important sector, and also to evaluate whether the federal agencies are getting adequate notice of transactions that might harm competition. This will help us continue to keep tech markets open and competitive, for the benefit of consumers.”
In a press release announcing the news, the FTC said it would use the data and documents provided by the companies to “examine trends” in the tech industry’s merger strategies and structures and to analyze “how small firms perform after they are acquired” by larger companies. This new information could lead officials to look at future deals more closely.