Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The scariest quote you'll see on antitrust this week

 For reasons I'll try to go into later, I'm not all that worried about the antitrust issues with the Amazon-Whole Foods merger, though that might change with new developments. The sale of a Kroger or a Safeway would certainly make me rethink this, as would a real (rather than all-hype) advance in food delivery systems. For now, though, I'm going to be more concerned by pretty much anything that comes out of Comcast, for example.

But when we do hit the next big antitrust case, this story by Gizmodo's Rhett Jones will worry me deeply. [emphasis added]

Makan Delrahim is Trump’s nominee to handle antitrust cases at the Justice Department. He made it through Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this month and should be starting work soon.
According to The Intercept, Delrahim has spent the last decade working in the private sector on merger deals and is considered to be very corporate friendly in such matters. As The New York Times puts it, he flippantly believes that “a monopoly is perfectly legal until it abuses its monopoly power.” For about 12 years, he has worked for the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which just happens to be registered to lobby on Amazon’s behalf.

Over at the FTC, Abbott Lipsky is the acting Director of the Bureau of Competition. Whole Foods has hired Lipsky’s former law firm, Latham & Watkins, to manage the proceedings with Amazon.

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