Antitrust Policy is Ripe for a Rethink
By Rana Froohar
The big are getting bigger. Disney has upped its bid for 21st Century Fox, off the back of pressure from Comcast, which wants Rupert Murdoch’s crown jewels for itself. T-Mobile and Sprint are pitching the Federal Communications Commission on a merger. In the wake of the US district court decision to allow AT&T and Time Warner to merge, the floodgates will be open to a host of new deals, many of which are desperate attempts by old-line companies to avoid having their lunches eaten by the real behemoths of today’s economy — the Silicon Valley giants….Bank regulation expert Karen Petrou recently likened the largest Silicon Valley firms to systemically important financial institutions in terms of size, market impact, interconnectedness, and “substitutability”. It would be nearly impossible, she argues, to quickly replace one company with another in the case of a service failure. Major tech platforms have, according to Ms Petrou, “become so embedded in everyday life that I think they flunk the substitutability test”.