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Big Tech in hiring spree for looming antitrust battles

 |  January 2, 2019

Posted by Financial Times

Big Tech in hiring spree for looming antitrust battles

By Kiran Stacey

Big technology and telecoms companies have embarked on a hiring spree of former antitrust officials as their industries gear up for what experts warn could be an “existential” battle over whether they should be broken up.

In the last few months, Facebook, Amazon and AT&T have all hired senior antitrust officials from the US Department of Justice as they confront a new generation of regulators who are interested in preventing concentrations of economic power.
Critics have dismissed the increased interest in antitrust from younger economists and regulators in particular as “hipster antitrust”— but it has begun to catch the attention of some of America’s biggest companies. Since the summer, Makan
Delrahim, the assistant attorney-general for antitrust in the justice department, has lost two of his senior advisers to technology companies: Bryson Bachman to Amazon and Brinkley Tappan to AT&T. Both worked on the move to block the merger of the health insurers Cigna and Anthem. Meanwhile Kate Patchen, who previously led the justice department’s antitrust office in San Francisco, last month joined Facebook as an associate general counsel on litigation matters.