Antitrust: Rivals join to take on Google
A “loose-knit crew of rivals” to Google are gearing up to help the Justice Department prepare its antitrust probe, said Ryan Tracy and Valentina Pop in The Wall Street Journal. “Many of these companies have long argued that Big Tech platforms illegally abuse their market power,” and they are now “readying documents and data” for the DOJ. The companies include TripAdvisor and Yelp, “which accuse the search giant of unfairly favoring its own content”; Oracle, which criticized Google’s use of data in targeted ads; and news publishers who say Google sucks ad revenue from content creators.
Huawei: Getting around trade restrictions
Several U.S. companies have resumed selling products to Huawei by exploiting loopholes in President Trump’s blacklist, said Ian King and Jenny Leonard in Bloomberg.com. Micron, the memory chipmaker, and Intel, the microprocessor company, are shipping components to Huawei again, less than a month after the U.S. banned the Chinese telecom from buying American components and software. The companies are “taking advantage of certain exceptions to the export restrictions”—specifically, a legal threshold that exempts products when “less than 25 percent of the technology used in the chip originates in the U.S.”
Gaming: A merger of casino giants
“A $17.3 billion megadeal is slated to create the largest casino company in the world,” said Richard Velotta in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Reno, Nev.–based Eldorado Resorts agreed to acquire Caesars Entertainment Corp. this week to form “an industry giant with 60 domestic casino-resorts and gaming facilities across 16 states.” The deal could bring changes to the Strip, where Caesars operates eight properties, including Caesars Palace and Harrah’s, and could begin selling some. Activist billionaire Carl Icahn, Caesars’ biggest shareholder, had pushed for a sale for months to relieve Caesars’ crushing debt load.
Collectibles: Cashing in on sneaker mania
A sneaker exchange platform is now valued at more than $1 billion, said Erin Griffiths in The New York Times. The online marketplace, StockX, raised $110 million in new financing this week, lifting its total to $160 million since it began in 2012 after the founder, Josh Luber, gave a TED Talk titled “Why Sneakers Are a Great Investment.” Since then, the market for resale sneakers and streetwear, “fueled by ‘sneakerheads’ and others who regard the shoes as investment assets,” has exploded, and is expected to reach $6 billion by 2025.