WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Noah Phillips, a Republican on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, on Thursday sidestepped a question about Elon Musk’s plan to buy Twitter but said some transactions were economically important because they led to better management.
Phillips, who was speaking at an Axios event, was asked if Musk should be allowed to own Twitter and declined to discuss the agency’s probe of the deal. “I’m not speaking to the antitrust question. And I don’t want to speak to anything that we may or may not look at. I’m not saying one way or the other because I don’t talk about investigations,” he said.
But he went on to speak more generally about how certain types of transactions have been good for the U.S. economy.
“One of the things that has made the American economy robust and competitive over many years is what we call the market for corporate control. While there are a lot of people who pooh-pooh mergers, the fact that we allow companies to move to people who can manage them better, for people to bid and say, ‘Hey, I can do that job better,’ has been a net benefit in American society over a long period of time,” he said.
Phillips never specifically mentioned Twitter or Musk, who clinched a deal on April 25 to buy the social media platform in a buyout that was valued at $44 billion.
The FTC commissioner went on to express concern about deals not being reviewed quickly enough. “One of the things that we imperiled is that market for corporate control, and I think doing that this mistake,” he said.
The FTC is headed by Democratic Chair Lina Khan and has had one other Democrat and two Republicans for months. With the confirmation of Democrat Alvaro Bedoya on Wednesday, Democrats will take control of the agency.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Paul Simao)