Musk’s $44bn buyout of Twitter faces US antitrust review: report

Musk’s $44bn buyout of Twitter faces US antitrust review: report

Elon Musk arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, US., May 2, 2022.— Reuters/File
Elon Musk arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, US., May 2, 2022.— Reuters/File 
  • US FTC is reviewing Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, reports Bloomberg News.
  • Agency to decide next month whether it will do an in-depth antitrust probe of proposed transaction.
  • Little likelihood that the agency will find any evidence Musk’s purchase of Twitter illegal under antitrust law, per antitrust experts.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reviewing Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the deal.

The FTC declined to comment, while Musk could not be reached for comment.

The agency will decide in the next month whether it will do an in-depth antitrust probe of the proposed transaction, the person told Bloomberg. Such a probe would delay the deal’s closing by months.

Antitrust experts have said there is little likelihood the agency will find any evidence that Musk’s purchase of Twitter is illegal under antitrust law.

Also read: Musk’s Twitter takeover raises questions about its role in digital social infrastructure

The FTC is already investigating Musk’s initial purchase of a 9% stake in Twitter, probing whether he complied with an antitrust reporting requirement when he acquired the shares in early April.

One critic of the deal has been the Open Markets Institute, which said that it should be stopped to avoid giving an already powerful man “direct control over one of the world’s most important platforms for public communications and debate.” It also cited Musk’s ownership of the satellite communications company Starlink as a concern.

Also read: Musk says Twitter may charge slight fee for commercial, government users

The deal has the support of Republicans, who hope conservatives banned from the site, like former President Donald Trump, will be allowed to return.

While Musk has tweeted about free speech, when he discusses plans for Twitter he focuses more on helping revenues by getting more people to use it or cutting such expenses as executive pay. He has said nothing publicly about allowing banned former users to return.

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