Today Farm Action and the American Economic Liberties Project (AELP), joined by 16 other organizations, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ), calling on the agencies to investigate “and, if evidence warrants, to take action against” Koch Industries’ planned acquisition of OCI Global’s Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCO).
The letter noted the vast local, state, and federal investment into IFCO in anticipation of its ability to lower costs for farmers, create jobs for the community, and challenge the market dominance of the very corporation now acquiring it.
“Should the acquisition be allowed to proceed, taxpayers will have effectively subsidized the expansion of Koch’s control over a critical and heavily concentrated sector of our agricultural economy,” the letter said.
The letter articulated the agencies’ interest in this deal, citing language from the recently updated merger guidelines pertaining to mergers that increase concentration in highly concentrated sectors and that entrench dominant market positions.
“Fertilizer is one of the most highly consolidated sectors in American agriculture, with the top four firms collectively controlling 75% of fertilizer markets,” the letter said. “Koch Industries is in fact one of these four fertilizer firms, in addition to being one of the largest privately held companies in the country.”
Emphasizing the stakes of the investigation, the letter said that “[t]o safeguard our economy and indeed our democracy, our enforcers must prevent dominant firms from capitalizing on investments made with public resources.”
Jimmy Wyderko, Economic Liberties, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-221-7778
Dee Laninga, Farm Action, email@example.com, 202-450-0094