Obama Is Still Trying to Keep Markets Competitive

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Can an activist government do something about huge corporate mergers that reduce competition to dangerously low levels? Why yes!

Pfizer Inc. has decided to kill its planned $150 billion takeover of Allergan PLC, after the Obama administration took aim at a deal that would have moved the biggest drug company in the U.S. to Ireland to lower its taxes, according to people familiar with the matter….The companies are expected to announce the deal’s termination as early as Wednesday morning, after Pfizer’s board voted Tuesday to halt the combination and the New York-based pharmaceutical company then notified Dublin-based Allergan, the people said.

This happened after the Treasury Department unveiled new rules that would have eliminated the tax advantages of the deal. There’s also this:

The Justice Department is preparing to file a lawsuit to block a proposed merger between Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc., the most recent sign that a takeover boom is meeting resistance from U.S. regulators and antitrust enforcers….It would mark the department’s most notable flexing of its enforcement muscles since Comcast Corp. abandoned its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. a year ago in the face of opposition by the department and the Federal Communications Commission.

These periodic interventions aren’t much, but they demonstrate what can be done even in the absence of new legislation. An administration that wants to keep markets competitive has plenty of arrows in its quiver if it chooses to use them.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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