The EU’s biggest economies Germany and France as well as the Netherlands want the bloc to secure beefier powers to stop startups from being swallowed by big tech companies.
The joint call came as EU ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday laid out ambitions for two landmark laws being negotiated that could fundamentally change the way companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon do business.
Ministers from the three countries said a current proposal to stop mergers “lacks ambition” and asked negotiators to toughen the law.
“In order to prevent gatekeepers from continuing to acquire innovative start-ups and thereby eliminating future competitors, it is .. very important that all mergers and acquisitions… are assessed by an EU regulator,” a statement said.
At issue is Big Tech’s practice of “killer acquisitions” — buying up nascent competitors that have come up with technology that fast becomes essential but which could threaten a giant’s existing dominance.
EU regulators believe that Facebook’s buyouts of Instagram or WhatsApp, or Google’s purchase of Fitbit, are potential examples…