With its July 2021 executive order, the Biden administration expanded the scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions to consider the potential impact of the accumulation of consumers’ personal information under one roof.

Until last year, regulators viewed anti-competitive activity through the narrow lens of the potential impact of potential market concentration on consumers’ wallets. But with its July 2021 executive order, the Biden administration expanded the scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions to consider the potential impact of the accumulation of consumers’ personal information under one roof.

As a result, the focus of inquiries now is not just on an organizations’ market share, but also on its “data share.” The White House underscored its intentions with two significant appointments: “tech foe” Jonathan Kantor as DOJ antitrust chief; and Lina Kahn, known as an advocate for redefining monopoly power in big tech, as FTC chair.

The White House fact sheet on the executive order pulls no punches in asserting that the business models of technology giants’ platforms “have depended on the accumulation of extraordinary amounts of sensitive personal information and related data.” It goes on to state that the intention of the order is to coordinate the efforts of antitrust enforcement efforts in response to corporate consolidation.

The impact is far-reaching. Beyond the tech giants, businesses of all sizes looking to engage in M&A activity could be affected by the fallout, with legal teams at the forefront of augmented compliance efforts.

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