Antitrust Lawsuits Are Coming For Half Of Warren Buffets Wealth

( — Way back in 2021, the American Bar Association published an opinion piece about the way that the Biden administration was intending to revitalize the enforcement of antitrust laws. At the time, presidential advisor Timothy Wu said that the move was a return to the original intent of those laws, and the federal government working to restrain the power of monopolies reflected the will of the American people. The ongoing antitrust lawsuits against Visa, Mastercard, Amazon and Apple indicate that this was not a hollow promise.

Last year, in September, the Federal Trade Commission, working with 17 state attorneys general, sued Amazon for their “ongoing pattern” of illegal conduct to suppress competition. In March of this year, the Justice Department, along with 16 state and district attorneys general, announced a suit against Apple for violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act in an attempt to monopolize the market for smartphones. Also in March, Visa and Mastercard agreed to a settlement in their antitrust lawsuit, although the $30 billion settlement does not yet have court approval.

Some are concerned that the Biden administrations antitrust crusade is harming shareholders in many of the companies being targeted. Experts point to Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway which owns or has large financial stakes in, many prominent U.S. companies, as a possible casualty of the lawsuits. Steve H. Hanke, a professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University, believes the antitrust lawsuits are driven by an ideological concept of bigger always means bad, which he says misses the fact than many large companies are larger simply because they have expanded to better serve their customers. He worries that this attitude is harming companies and shareholders.

Yuri Khodjamirian, Chief Investment Officer at Tema ETFs, is considerably less concerned. He asserts that Visa and Mastercard are coping well with the changes in regulation and are unlikely to be significantly harmed. He’s also unworried about Apple’s chances of weathering the lawsuits and coping with any regulatory changes. Further, Khodjamirian says he doesn’t believe that Buffett’s portfolio is likely to suffer from the lawsuits. Berkshire Hathaway has a 5.9 percent stake in Apple, accounting for 42.9 percent of its $364 billion portfolio, but time will tell if Khodjamirian is correct about Apple’s resilience in the face of possible new regulations or penalties.

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