Wall Street gives administration earful over antitrust enforcement


Wall Street dealmakers have dialed up their complaints to the White House over the last year as the administration’s top antitrust enforcers — FTC Chair Lina Khan and DOJ antitrust head Jonathan Kanter — knuckle down on merger activity they say would damage the economy, according to Biden officials and financial industry executives.

One senior administration official — who was granted anonymity to discuss private conversations with business leaders — told POLITICO that they view the objections as a sign that Biden’s competition policy and staffing choices are working.

The volume of M&A activity has fallen sharply over the last year and dealmakers say the effect of President Joe Biden’s antitrust crackdown has also been felt in ways that won’t show up in the data. It’s not just the deals they attempt to stop — it’s the deals that never get proposed to a corporate board, for fear of having to subject their transactions to combative regulators.