STATEMENT: Roosevelt Experts Respond to Latest FTC Ruling, Highlight Areas for Reform

By Kendra Bozarth |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 22, 2018

CONTACT:
Mariam Ahmed, mariam.ahmed@berlinrosen.com

New York, NY—Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the $80 billion merger of Praxair and Linde AG, the world’s second- and third-largest industrial gas suppliers. FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra dissented from the decision to approve the merger with conditions, noting that it would stifle competition and violate the Sherman Act. In response, Marshall Steinbaum and Lenore Palladino of the Roosevelt Institute issued the following statements:

“The conditions the FTC imposed on the Praxair-Linde AG merger are inadequate for preserving competition,” said Marshall Steinbaum, Research Director and Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. “Although the companies will be required to divest some of their business lines, these conditions are meaningless if private equity firms end up simply stripping them of their assets. Commissioner Chopra is right to point out that buyers must prove that they intend to govern their firm and invest for the long run in order to create a viable competitor, not exploit a weak asset just to sell it off again.”

“This merger, designed to serve the interests of private equity, shows once again how corporations’ decisions are driven by a sole focus on the priorities of shareholders rather than considering the consequences for other stakeholders, including workers and consumers,” said Lenore Palladino, Senior Economist and Policy Counsel at the Roosevelt Institute. “The FTC’s decision to approve this merger ignores shareholder power in today’s economy and fails the consumers whose welfare the agency is supposed to protect.”

The Roosevelt Institute is a strong advocate of reining in corporate power through the lens of antitrust policy and corporate governance. Steinbaum recently co-authored The Effective Competition Standard: A New Standard for Antitrust, which recommends strengthening antitrust laws and expanding them to protect the interests of workers, suppliers, and other stakeholders affected by corporate consolidation. Palladino is also the co-author of Towards ‘Accountable Capitalism’: Remaking Corporate Law through Stakeholder Governance, which calls for legislative reforms to decenter shareholders and elevate the voices of multiple stakeholders in corporate decision-making.

 

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Until the rules work for every American, they’re not working. The Roosevelt Institute asks: what does a better society look like? Armed with a bold vision for the future, we push the economic and social debate forward. We believe that those at the top hold too much power and wealth, and that our economy will be stronger when that changes. Ultimately, we want our work to move the country toward a new economic and political system: one built by many for the good of all.

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As the Deputy Director of Editorial and Digital Strategy, Kendra Bozarth sets the publications and digital media strategy for the Roosevelt Institute’s think tank, student network, and advocacy team. Follow her @kendrabozarth.