Germany, France and Dutch want more say in tech giants’ startup deals

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Draft rules targeting the Alphabet Unit (GOOGL.O) Google, Facebook (FB.O), Amazon (AMZN.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) should be strengthened to allow regulators to control their acquisitions of rivals by startup, Germany, France and the Netherlands said Thursday.

The joint statement by German Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier, his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire, little French Minister Cedric O and Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer came as EU countries and lawmakers are preparing to debate the rules proposed by the European Commission.

The tech giants have been criticized by some for so-called murderous acquisitions where they buy up nascent rivals in a bid to shut them down.

Regulators should use the Digital Markets Bill (DMA) to address this issue, ministers said.

“First, set clear and legally certain thresholds for acquisitions by target custodians with relatively low revenue, but high value,” they said.

“Second, adapt the substantive test to effectively deal with cases of potentially predatory acquisitions.”

They said the proposed rules should leave room for EU countries to tackle so-called online gatekeepers and anti-competitive behavior.

The draft rules could enter into force next year once the Commission, EU countries and EU lawmakers work out a common position.

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