Five independent businessmen who have been affected adversely by large corporate mergers in their twons yesterday testified about their experiences before a Senate subcommittee on a bill aimed at restricting takeovers.
The businessmen, (from small cities in New York and Ohio, testified that the bill, the Small and Independent Business Protection Act, was a good start at protecting businesses, but perhaps more legislation was needed.
"We are very grateful for the large branch plants that we have in town," said F. X. Matt, vice president of the West End Brewing Co., in Utica.
"They employ a great many people and their skilled managers are assets to the community in a host of ways. However, effective as they are, these executives can hardly have the same knowledge and pride in the community as do locally-based leadership.
"Often they serve in a community as do locally based leadership," Matt said. But "then they are transferred or promoted."
The bill would restrict mergers based on the size of the companies involved.
Mergers between firms with assets or sales exceeding $2 billion are prohibited and those involving companies which both have assets or sales of $350 million cannot merge unless they can show such a move would improve competition or otherwise be beneficial.
Mergers between one company with assets or sales exceeding $350 million and another that controls 20 percent of a particular market must also prove such a move would be beneficial or enhance competition.
Evelyn Y. Davis, corporate gadfly, also testified in favor of the bill.
Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D- Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on antitrust, monopoly and business rights, said the bill is needed because mergers "touch the very heart of our way of life. As the largest corporations have gained more control and power over this country's assets, our nation's citizens have increasingly lost control over decisions that vitally affect their very own lives."