Tech giants may be in the crosshairs of antitrust regulators in 2022 after a number of calm years. The Biden administration has recently appointed anti-monopoly advocates to posts at the National Economic Council, the FTC, and the DoJ, signaling that a wave of regulatory bludgeoning may be on the horizon.
- M&A may be the hardest hit area, as new leadership at the FTC and Justice Department will be tasked with scrutinizing past and potential deals with renewed zeal, and a $500M budget boost.
- The FTC has sued to block Nvidia’s (NVDA) acquisition of Arm Ltd and has launched a probe of Meta’s (FB) intent to buy a VR fitness company called Supernatural. VR Fitness sounds like a great way to increase emergency room visits.
- Legislation is in the pipeline to revise Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and enact a Federal law based on California’s CCPA, both of which could have adverse impacts on tech platforms in the form of increased accountability for user actions.
Behemoths such as Meta, Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), and Microsoft (MSFT) will likely be increasing the expense budget for antitrust outside counsel in 2022. Investors have largely brushed off regulatory concerns in past years, but the day of reckoning may finally be near. Their saving grace however may just be the Biden administration’s track record of being completely and woefully ineffective at everything else. At least the new year is looking to be a good one for one group of people, and that’s tech industry lobbyists.