The FTC Is Hyperactive – And Attempting Time Travel

Let’s let Merriam Webster define for us “antitrust”:

“Consisting of laws to protect trade and commerce from unlawful restraints and monopolies or unfair business practices.”

That’s a pretty good operating definition.

Except after a half-century-plus of government schools – and Leftist mendacity – words and their definitions have been warped beyond all recognition.

The word “monopoly” is thrown around ridiculously often.  Almost never in reference to an actual monopoly.  And often in the dumbest of possible ways.

Let’s again ask Merriam – for his definition of “monopoly”:

“Exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action.”

“Exclusive” – means sole.

“Monopoly’s” prefix – is “mon-.”  Which means, of course:

“One : single : alone.”

So idiotic headlines like this are…idiotic….

Comcast’s And Charter’s Broadband Monopoly Continues To Grow

TWO companies – can’t have a monopoly.  And if a “monopoly continues to grow?”  It isn’t a monopoly.

If the Left will warp beyond words – a simple, concrete word like “monopoly?”  You can bet they’ll use the nebulous “unfair trade practices” – through which to drive truckloads of government hyperactivity.

Speaking of abuse of antitrust and its language: Behold the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  We’ll look here at just a couple of instances of their hyperactivity….

FTC Seeks to Block Microsoft Corp.’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc.:

“Agency alleges that maker of Xbox would gain control of top video game franchises, enabling it to harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content.”

But the obvious must again be iterated….

No, Microsoft Buying Activision Blizzard Isn’t A Monopoly

Even the FTC’s own words – give up the ghost…:

“Activision is one of only a very small number of top video game developers in the world that create and publish high-quality video games for multiple devices, including video game consoles, PCs, and mobile devices.”

So, there are other “top video game developers.”  Plus, of course, other less than “top video game developers.”  Microsoft acquiring this one – not exactly an Earth-shattering antitrust development.

Oh – and as an aside: This is video games about which we are talking.  Not exactly nuclear rocket technology mergers.  This is what draws Sauron’s eye?  Really?

The FTC is also doing its Marty McFly impression – and trying to go back in time.  And undo a merger that’s already happened.

In April 2020, the FTC did this….

FTC Sues to Unwind Altria’s $12.8 Billion Investment in Competitor JUUL:

“(T)he Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint alleging that Altria Group, Inc. and JUUL Labs, Inc. entered a series of agreements, including Altria’s acquisition of a 35% stake in JUUL, that eliminated competition in violation of federal antitrust laws.”

Now, let’s begin with the fact that the federal government hyper-targeting the vaping industry has since caused this – from July 2022….

Altria’s $13 Billion Juul Investment Has Lost 95% of Its Value:

“Cigarette maker Altria’s $13 billion investment in the troubled vaping company Juul has gone up in smoke – now worth less than 5% of its original value.

“The decline comes as U.S. regulators move to ban the company’s e-cigarettes.”

Which makes one wonder – what, exactly, is the FTC “su(ing) to unwind?”  It looks like their government colleagues have destroyed the merger-acquired business – the FTC now seeks to un-merge.

Oh: And in February 2022, this happened….

FTC Judge Dismisses Antitrust Complaint Against Altria, JUUL:

“A judge at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has dismissed a complaint that the agency filed aimed at requiring Marlboro maker Altria Group to sell a minority investment in JUUL, Altria said in a release on Tuesday.”

Get that?  The FTC’s own judge – an expert in the FTC’s fields of endeavor – thinks the FTC’s case is ludicrous.  Does even that stop the FTC?  Heavens no.  Seven months later….

FTC’s Appeal (to Itself) of Loss in Altria-JUUL Action Intensifies Constitutional Controversies Swirling Around the Commission

Get that?  An FTC judge dismisses the FTC’s case.  And the FTC appeals the FTC judge’s decision – to itself.

“Our very own judge says we’re wrong.  So we’ll appeal – to us.”  How very cozy:

“On September 12, the Federal Trade Commission will consider the Commission staff’s appeal of an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) decision that Altria Group’ minority investment in JUUL Labs did not violate the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act.”

Which raises yet another question.

Juul’s value has been strip-mined by government regulators – to virtual non-existence.  Which, again, was reported in July 2022.

So what on Earth are FTC’s bureaucrats hoping to accomplish by continuing to pursue their nonsense – in September 2022?  There’s basically nothing left of Juul.

Meanwhile, poor Juul is now hawking itself on the open market.  Hoping to salvage some semblance of what the government destroyed.  This from late January….

Juul in Deal Talks With Three Tobacco Giants:

“E-cigarette maker explores potential sale, investment or distribution pact with Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco or Altria.”

Isn’t government hyperactivity fun?

The FTC needs to check itself – before it wrecks all of US.

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  • Seton Motley