Written by BBC
Year to date, Amazon stock (AMZN) is up 72%. It is currently trading at 161 times earnings. To put that in context, the average price to earnings ratio is only 20-25. What this means is that the market is betting on Amazon. A lot. Why? Everything comes down to Economies of scale, and monopoly.
Amazon has shown time and time again that they are able to eat up whatever industry their founder Jeff Bezos (or their newly appointed CEO Beff Jezos) sets his mind to. First it was books, then retail, now food and web services. Every time Amazon consumes an industry they strengthen their monopoly power, and with it, their potential to be insanely profitable at the expense of consumers.
No matter who is the president, the FTC simply will not allow Amazon to continue consuming competition at the rate it is. It is impossible for anyone, even president elect and former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, to convince the FTC that Amazon is not an increasingly dangerous threat to competition. That is not to say he won’t try.
The Amazon Board declined to comment on whether Bezos was still an Amazon shareholder, but according to a freedom of information request made by a BBC correspondent he has not made an HSR filing with the FTC, which is required to exchange assets of substantial size such as his AMZN stock holding. Therefore, he still holds about 4% of the company.
The Board, though, still seems convinced that Amazon will survive intact for years to come. When asked about anti-trust legislation, multiple members were quick to respond that they already had solutions in the works to convince the FTC that Amazon is not a threat. They clearly are not reading the writing on the wall: that Amazon is just about the definition of a monopoly, and that no amount of lobbying will be able to prevent anti-trust legislation from going through.
Post break-up, it is questionable whether many divisions of Amazon will even remain afloat. Much of the company is profitable due to network effects and economies of scale, which allow the company to minimize operating costs to edge out smaller competition. Additionally, Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts for over 67% of company profits, which helps prop up less profitable wings.
Though Bezos and the rest of the board stand to lose the lucrative monopoly profits Amazon currently enjoys once the company fails to defend the impending antitrust lawsuit, there is one man who stands to gain. Brian T. Oslavsky, chief financial officer of amazon, is also on the board of Alibaba.
If Amazon is broken up, Alibaba is the one corporation that stands to gain the most, and Brian T Oslavsky, as a board member, will undoubtedly be rewarded for the damage he is doubtlessly doing to Amazon from the inside. Brian T. Oslavsky has survived two consecutive votes to kick him off of board, while publicly serving on the board of Alibaba. When asked how he responds to the obvious conflict of interest, he said, “I don’t.”