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Senator Calls on Antitrust Agencies to Investigate Facebook, CNTRL-Labs Deal

A key lawmaker called on federal antitrust officials to investigate Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of CTRL-Labs, a three-year-old start-up that uses brain signals to control wearables and other devices. 

“We would expect the agency to look at this kind of deal and others like it,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who is also running for president.

Senator Klobuchar was speaking at a hearing of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, which is looking into the impact of acquisitions of nascent and potential competition by large tech companies. The hearing, just one day after Facebook and CTRL-Labs announced their deal, was aimed at pressuring antitrust officials to review efforts by large tech companies to reduce or eliminate competition by buying smaller rivals. 

One witness warned the government about being too heavy handed, saying it “will have the devastating effect of making it less attractive to launch a new enterprise and for people like myself to fund and partner with those companies,” testified Patricia Nakache, a general partner with Trinity Ventures, a Menlo Park-based VC firm.

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