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Shapiro Covers Potential CFIUS Issues with PGA, LIV Combination for Yahoo Finance

June 22, 2023

Thompson Coburn International Trade Chair Robert Shapiro spoke with Yahoo Finance about the announced tie-up between the nonprofit PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's for-profit LIV Golf, which the publication reports has the attention of U.S. antitrust regulators and lawmakers.

Concerns over LIV combining with the PGA Tour are multifaceted, Yahoo Finance says, though they mainly stem from the merger's likelihood to reduce competition and to provide some level of access or control to its foreign owner, Saudi Arabia’s $700 billion Public Investment Fund.

While regulatory scrutiny will be intense, Shapiro said that it's unlikely the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) would recommend President Biden block the agreement, because PGA Tour's golf operations do not appear to involve critical U.S. technology or infrastructure.

The focus, he said, would likely be to review PGA Tour's real estate portfolio to ensure it could not be used to disrupt U.S. military operations, and to ensure that the personal information it collects does not put US officials or citizens at risk. The Department of Justice is in the better position to break up the deal than CFIUS is.

"I think they both have equal influence and power," Shapiro told Yahoo Finance. "The difference is there's more room in the antitrust environment for judicial review and action than there is in the CFIUS environment."

The article, “LIV called the PGA Tour a monopoly. Their truce created new US antitrust scrutiny,” was published on June 18, 2023.

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