Regulations: A boon or a bane for the tech industry?

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on Jan 3, 2022
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  • Stifel's Brian Gardner expects antitrust policies to further tighten this year.
  • He says regulation does not necessarily mean bad things for the tech titans.
  • Antitrust activity will also target sectors other than technology in 2022.

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Stifel’s Brian Gardner expects the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to tighten antitrust policies in 2022 but does that necessarily mean bad things for the mega-cap technology names?

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Highlights from Gardner’s interview on CNBC’s ‘The Exchange’

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According to Gardner, regulation could be a bane for tech titans in the near term, but it turns into a boon in the long run. On CNBC’s “The Exchange”, he said:

Regulation raises the barriers of entrance. So, it locks in the current market and protects the current players that have built-in advantages. There could be a short-term sell-off, but I think the current players actually benefit; there’s less of a risk to them in the longer term.

Gardner anticipates FTC’s investigations and policy initiatives to focus on several areas this year, including data security, privacy, and consumer rights. Lawmakers are already pushing President Biden to play a bigger role in tightening tech regulations.  

What else could regulations affect in 2022?

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Interestingly, Gardner says antitrust activity will affect many other sectors in 2022 and will no longer be limited to technology only. He added:

The DOJ and FTC have already gone down the road of looking at a couple of mergers in the railroad space last year. You’ll see more of that. Then there was a big merger in the insurance world with Aon and Willis that was blocked. I think you could also see more of that.

He expects an impact on the largest U.S. banks as well, as regulators set out to revise their merger guidelines. Earlier on Monday, Decatur Capital’s Degus Wright said an Ohio-based regional bank, KeyCorp, was one of his top picks for 2022.

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