In The News 2022

Higher unemployment may give space to politicians catering to divisions: Raghuram Rajan
June 12, 2022 | The Economic Times
Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that if unemployment rates in India remain high, it may lead to 'entrepreneurial' politicians who cater to religious divisions, rather than focusing on actually enhancing jobs.

Divestment: are there better ways to clean up ‘dirty’ companies?
June 6, 2022 | Financial Times
In 2020 Cambridge university announced that it would strip its £3.5bn endowment fund of all fossil fuel investments by 2030. Shedding its near-£100mn of exposure to the energy sector was necessary to align its investment strategy with climate science which showed the need to cut carbon emissions to net zero to avoid catastrophe, it explained. By divesting, said vice-chancellor Stephen Toope, Cambridge was “responding comprehensively to a pressing environmental and moral need for action”.

A ‘once-in-a-century inflection point’: DoJ’s antitrust chief on curbing corporate power
June 2, 2022 | Financial Times
One of the most striking pictures in Jonathan Kanter’s office is a cartoon of a wrecked airship called “High Finance”, featuring business magnates of early 1900s America as stranded passengers. The doomed aircraft’s splintered blades bear the names of large trusts and a broken-up corporation, while hovering above it is the apparent cause of the crash: a black cloud labelled “investigation”, “merger decision” and “law”.

When Picking Judges, Democrats Need to Stop Ignoring Economics
June 1, 2022 | The New York Times Opinion
President Biden has argued more forcefully than any other president in recent decades that the government needs to limit corporate concentration and to prosecute abuses of corporate power. He has installed leading proponents of an antitrust revival at the White House, and at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, the major regulatory agencies.

Live from the archives: Thoughts on competition between the largest global audit firms
May 22, 2022 | The Dig
I am more or less done with my move to Philadelphia — anyone an expert on getting an old LG flat screen to sound right? — and my official duties as a full-time Wharton faculty member will start on July 1. I’ve got several newsletters in the hopper but, in the meantime, I thought we could spend some time thinking about the hot topic of monopoly concentration in the context of the Big 4.

CAA’s ICM Buy Suffers Deal Fatigue as Agents Defect While Feds Take Long Look
May 16, 2022 | The Hollywood Reporter
“Never leave a deal open” is a phrase agents know too well. The longer it stays open, the more it invites scrutiny, and the more chances there are for it to go sideways or south. The CAA acquisition of rival agency ICM Partners has now been open since September, when the mega agency first unveiled its plans, at the same time signaling its expectation that the buy would close by the end of the year, if not by the beginning of this one.

The FTC at Full Strength: What to Expect Next
May 16, 2022 | Gibson Dunn
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stalemate ended on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the 50-50 Senate tie to confirm Alvaro Bedoya.  The addition of Commissioner Bedoya establishes the first Democratic majority at the FTC since Commissioner Rohit Chopra left the agency to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October 2021 and creates a pathway for Chair Lina Khan’s ambitious agency agenda.  Commissioner Bedoya, a privacy scholar, brings with him substantial interest in privacy and algorithmic fairness which are issues at the top of the FTC’s priorities.

DMA: EU, Turkey and Beyond
May 13, 2022 | Lexology
Over the recent years, digitalisation and digital services have been at the core of many innovative advantages for businesses and end users alike. These benefits range from online intermediation services to software application stores. This variety offers better and more efficient choices for users while increasing competition within the digital markets industry.

Two brave female journalists in Ukraine show us the value of a free press
May 13, 2022 | Evening Standard
Last week I spent an hour on Zoom in conversation with two remarkable, brave women. The editor of the Kyiv Independent, Olga Rudenko, is on the front of Time magazine this week as one of their “next generation leaders”. Her passionate chief executive Daryna Shevchenko, whose phone was constantly blasting air raid warnings as we spoke, laughed darkly that she should be locking herself in the bathroom for safety. Rudenko was stationed that week not far from the Donetsk region, seeing family she is increasingly concerned about, as fierce fighting moves ever closer.

Olga Rudenko and the Kyiv Independent Are Giving the World a Window Into a Devastating War
May 11, 2022 | Time
The staff of the Kyiv Independent knew war was coming. They had spent long days in February reporting on an invasion that high-level sources had told them was imminent. Editor in chief Olga Rudenko and the other senior editors had consulted with the outlet’s two dozen or so staff members to make sure each had an evacuation plan and had withdrawn cash so they could keep operating if the banks closed.

How Disney and DeSantis clashed over power and policy, and what it means for business and politics in Florida
May 10, 2022 | WLRN Miami
The battle between Gov. DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Chapek is a rare public display of big business and hard knuckle politics. It was both a slow burn and a rapid firestorm that engulfed the Magic Kingdom in Florida politics and the national culture war.

The failures of stakeholder capitalism
May 1, 2022 | Financial Times
People who care about creating a fairer and more sustainable market system tend to think about things like “ESG” investing (environmental, social and governance issues) and “stakeholder capitalism”. But what they need to start thinking about is power.

US agencies considering conglomerate issues during merger guideline review, Khan says
April 25, 2022 | Global Competition Review
Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan has said the US antitrust agencies are considering ways in which to evaluate deals involving conglomerate effects as the enforcers consider revisions to their merger guidelines.

Optimal policy for acquisitions of potential competitors under financial constraints
March 27, 2022 | VoxEU CEPR
Potential competitors are firms that currently do not exert competitive pressure but might do so in the future. The acquisition of these firms is a widespread phenomenon. As Figure 1 shows, since the mid-1990s there has been a dramatic shift in the exit strategy of start-ups backed by venture capital, from IPOs towards acquisitions (obviously, not all the targets of such acquisitions are potential competitors). In the digital economy alone, hundreds of start-ups have been bought in the last few years by incumbents such as Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft, but this phenomenon extends beyond the digital industries.

We aren’t going after Russian oligarchs in the right way. Here’s how to do it
March 9, 2022 | The Guardian
We’re sanctioning Russian oligarchs up the wazoo, hoping it’s a way to get Putin to stop his deadly attack on Ukraine. But for this tactic to work, two conditions must be met: first, the US and our allies must be able to locate and tie up Russian oligarchic wealth. Second, Russian oligarchs must have enough power to stop Putin.

War and Sanctions
March 4, 2022 | NR Capital Matters
If Putin had hoped for a successful, surgical strike against Ukraine, he must be disappointed. He may well also have been taken aback by the West’s reaction to the invasion. Its run-up was accompanied by the usual disunity within both NATO and the EU, but both NATO and the EU have closed ranks, and taken far stronger action than many (including me) had anticipated, particularly perhaps in Germany.

Retro Book Reviews: A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity by Luigi Zingales
January 06, 2022 | Competitive Enterprise Institute
University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales’s book A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, attempts to frame free-market policies in terms that appeal to populists, who generally oppose free markets.

A ‘once-in-a-century inflection point’: DoJ’s antitrust chief on curbing corporate power
June 2, 2022 | Financial Times
One of the most striking pictures in Jonathan Kanter’s office is a cartoon of a wrecked airship called “High Finance”, featuring business magnates of early 1900s America as stranded passengers. The doomed aircraft’s splintered blades bear the names of large trusts and a broken-up corporation, while hovering above it is the apparent cause of the crash: a black cloud labelled “investigation”, “merger decision” and “law”.

When Picking Judges, Democrats Need to Stop Ignoring Economics
June 1, 2022 | The New York Times Opinion
President Biden has argued more forcefully than any other president in recent decades that the government needs to limit corporate concentration and to prosecute abuses of corporate power. He has installed leading proponents of an antitrust revival at the White House, and at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, the major regulatory agencies.

Live from the archives: Thoughts on competition between the largest global audit firms
May 22, 2022 | The Dig
I am more or less done with my move to Philadelphia — anyone an expert on getting an old LG flat screen to sound right? — and my official duties as a full-time Wharton faculty member will start on July 1. I’ve got several newsletters in the hopper but, in the meantime, I thought we could spend some time thinking about the hot topic of monopoly concentration in the context of the Big 4.

CAA’s ICM Buy Suffers Deal Fatigue as Agents Defect While Feds Take Long Look
May 16, 2022 | The Hollywood Reporter
“Never leave a deal open” is a phrase agents know too well. The longer it stays open, the more it invites scrutiny, and the more chances there are for it to go sideways or south. The CAA acquisition of rival agency ICM Partners has now been open since September, when the mega agency first unveiled its plans, at the same time signaling its expectation that the buy would close by the end of the year, if not by the beginning of this one.

The FTC at Full Strength: What to Expect Next
May 16, 2022 | Gibson Dunn
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stalemate ended on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the 50-50 Senate tie to confirm Alvaro Bedoya.  The addition of Commissioner Bedoya establishes the first Democratic majority at the FTC since Commissioner Rohit Chopra left the agency to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October 2021 and creates a pathway for Chair Lina Khan’s ambitious agency agenda.  Commissioner Bedoya, a privacy scholar, brings with him substantial interest in privacy and algorithmic fairness which are issues at the top of the FTC’s priorities.

DMA: EU, Turkey and Beyond
May 13, 2022 | Lexology
Over the recent years, digitalisation and digital services have been at the core of many innovative advantages for businesses and end users alike. These benefits range from online intermediation services to software application stores. This variety offers better and more efficient choices for users while increasing competition within the digital markets industry.

Two brave female journalists in Ukraine show us the value of a free press
May 13, 2022 | Evening Standard
Last week I spent an hour on Zoom in conversation with two remarkable, brave women. The editor of the Kyiv Independent, Olga Rudenko, is on the front of Time magazine this week as one of their “next generation leaders”. Her passionate chief executive Daryna Shevchenko, whose phone was constantly blasting air raid warnings as we spoke, laughed darkly that she should be locking herself in the bathroom for safety. Rudenko was stationed that week not far from the Donetsk region, seeing family she is increasingly concerned about, as fierce fighting moves ever closer.

Olga Rudenko and the Kyiv Independent Are Giving the World a Window Into a Devastating War
May 11, 2022 | Time
The staff of the Kyiv Independent knew war was coming. They had spent long days in February reporting on an invasion that high-level sources had told them was imminent. Editor in chief Olga Rudenko and the other senior editors had consulted with the outlet’s two dozen or so staff members to make sure each had an evacuation plan and had withdrawn cash so they could keep operating if the banks closed.

How Disney and DeSantis clashed over power and policy, and what it means for business and politics in Florida
May 10, 2022 | WLRN Miami
The battle between Gov. DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Chapek is a rare public display of big business and hard knuckle politics. It was both a slow burn and a rapid firestorm that engulfed the Magic Kingdom in Florida politics and the national culture war.

The failures of stakeholder capitalism
May 1, 2022 | Financial Times
People who care about creating a fairer and more sustainable market system tend to think about things like “ESG” investing (environmental, social and governance issues) and “stakeholder capitalism”. But what they need to start thinking about is power.

US agencies considering conglomerate issues during merger guideline review, Khan says
April 25, 2022 | Global Competition Review
Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan has said the US antitrust agencies are considering ways in which to evaluate deals involving conglomerate effects as the enforcers consider revisions to their merger guidelines.

Optimal policy for acquisitions of potential competitors under financial constraints
March 27, 2022 | VoxEU CEPR
Potential competitors are firms that currently do not exert competitive pressure but might do so in the future. The acquisition of these firms is a widespread phenomenon. As Figure 1 shows, since the mid-1990s there has been a dramatic shift in the exit strategy of start-ups backed by venture capital, from IPOs towards acquisitions (obviously, not all the targets of such acquisitions are potential competitors). In the digital economy alone, hundreds of start-ups have been bought in the last few years by incumbents such as Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft, but this phenomenon extends beyond the digital industries.

We aren’t going after Russian oligarchs in the right way. Here’s how to do it
March 9, 2022 | The Guardian
We’re sanctioning Russian oligarchs up the wazoo, hoping it’s a way to get Putin to stop his deadly attack on Ukraine. But for this tactic to work, two conditions must be met: first, the US and our allies must be able to locate and tie up Russian oligarchic wealth. Second, Russian oligarchs must have enough power to stop Putin.

War and Sanctions
March 4, 2022 | NR Capital Matters
If Putin had hoped for a successful, surgical strike against Ukraine, he must be disappointed. He may well also have been taken aback by the West’s reaction to the invasion. Its run-up was accompanied by the usual disunity within both NATO and the EU, but both NATO and the EU have closed ranks, and taken far stronger action than many (including me) had anticipated, particularly perhaps in Germany.

Retro Book Reviews: A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity by Luigi Zingales
January 06, 2022 | Competitive Enterprise Institute
University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales’s book A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, attempts to frame free-market policies in terms that appeal to populists, who generally oppose free markets.