Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter is reportedly being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission to see if it raises any antitrust concerns. According to Bloomberg, a decision on whether to proceed with an in-depth study of the transaction will be made in the next month. The news comes only one day after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) warned that the FTC was prejudiced against Musk.
In a letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, Jordan stated, “[The Open Markets Institute] appears to believe that the FTC will be receptive to its cavalier effort to influence a federal agency that is run by its former employee. It is true that the Biden FTC is moving to promote progressive values that undermine capitalism and threaten innovation.” Khan formerly worked at the Open Markets Institute as the legal director. Jordan sought details regarding her dealings with the Open Markets Institute in the letter and expressed fears that her previous employer may be “trying to leverage its close relationship with you to take action to further limit free speech online.”
The Open Markets Institute, a non-profit organization that fights for anti-monopoly regulations, recently asked the FTC to halt Musk’s transaction. However, many analysts do not believe the deal will pose any antitrust concerns. Musk is required by federal law to inform the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission about the acquisition and to wait at least a month for regulators to investigate possible antitrust problems.
Additionally, the FTC is looking into whether Musk should have told the agency when he acquired a 9% share in the social media platform. Musk reportedly did not file paperwork with the agency about his ownership in the company and appeared to depend on an exclusion for assets obtained for investment reasons. If the FTC concludes that the paperwork failure was unintentional, it will likely not take action.