Conflicts for Trump Officials Show That the Amazon-Whole Foods Merger Should Go Smoothly
The announcement that Amazon is bidding $13.7 billion to take over the
Makan Delrahim is Trump's nominee to handle antitrust cases at the Justice Department. He made it through Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this month and should be starting work soon.
According to The Intercept , Delrahim has spent the last decade working in the private sector on merger deals and is considered to be very corporate friendly in such matters. As The New York Times puts it, he flippantly believes that "a monopoly is perfectly legal until it abuses its monopoly power." For about 12 years, he has worked for the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which just happens to be registered to lobby on Amazon's behalf.
Over at the FTC, Abbott Lipsky is the acting Director of the Bureau of Competition. Whole Foods has hired Lipsky's former law firm, Latham & Watkins, to manage the proceedings with Amazon.
So, two agencies oversee antitrust considerations, the Justice Department and the FTC, and each party in this merger has a friendly face in the best possible position at each agency. But that's not all.
Don't forget the aforementioned Goldman Sachs. At least five of Trump's top people come from the reviled investment bank and of course, Trump's top strategist Steve Bannon is a former "Goldman guy." Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein even complained back in May that too many people from his bank were joining the administration because of his "fear of how it might look." Guess who's handling the bridge financing in the Amazon merger. It rhymes with Boldman Wax.
Tomorrow, the leaders of the tech world will assemble once again to advise Trump on "modernizing" the government. When the meeting was first announced , Jeff Bezos name was on the guest list. But now that the meeting's date is so close, and Trump is more toxic than ever, the CEO's who were scheduled to appear are feeling shy about confirming their attendance. Surely, ol' Bezos won't let Trump down.
[ The Intercept ]