Tech Firms Face Pressure to Report ‘Killer Acquisitions’ to EU

Large internet platforms should report acquisitions to the European Union, including tiny deals that normally escape merger reviews, a group of advisers said.

In one of three reports published Friday, a group of experts advising the EU said officials should consider new obligations for platforms to better monitor “killer acquisitions” designed to preempt future competition.

The deal notifications wouldn’t be aimed at triggering traditional merger reviews, but would instead be designed to keep tabs on platforms’ behavior, the group said.

The reports come as the EU cracks down on practices by tech companies to lock out competitors, particularly if they compete with one another on the platforms’ sites. The reports will guide EU officials as they craft new legislation for platforms this year.

New EU regulations that come into force Sunday will prohibit unfair practices by platforms and require them to be transparent about how they rank goods, hotels, apps and other services by third-party businesses on their sites.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, is also working on its so-called Digital Services Act that will seek to overhaul liability rules for tech platforms, giving them more responsibility for what users post on their website.

The act, scheduled to be released as a formal proposal before the end of the year, will also include new rules for so-called gatekeeper platforms that could curb the power of big tech.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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