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Getting tough on antitrust

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With the exception of cellular telephony, 2000 was the year in which titans of industry got their comeuppance-but also a year in which much of the US public and many opinion leaders expressed chagrin at the government's hobbling the very heroes seen as responsible for the economy's spectacular performance. While antitrust enforcement received little explicit attention in the presidential campaign, the question nonetheless looms: what will be the future, this year and thereafter, of policy regarding mergers and acquisitions? The answer is not intuitively obvious. On the face of it, US regulators might be expected to back off-especially if the US economy falters, and leading telecommunications companies like AT&T, WorldCom, and Lucent Technologies continue to experience serious financial difficulties. A change in philosophy at the top of the government, with a new administration, could be an additional factor. In Europe, the emergence of the European Union's Competition Directorate as a big force in antitrust enforcement was perhaps the single most noteworthy development of 2000. Even in Japan, traditionally quiescent and industry-friendly regulators are restless. As a result, the prospects are not-as they seemed to be, just a couple of years back-good for unfettered industrial combinations

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan 2001

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