Private equity is trying to gobble up baby formula. Broadcom is going to ruin VMware. Can antitrust enforcers stop the arson? Will judges let them?
Enlightening, as usual. Thanks, Matt.
I had an experience recently that brought back memories of conglomerates, mergers, the Gordon Geckos of the time.
Being as old as I am, I have been reorganizing my kitchen for my shrinking height, putting heaver dishes and pots lower and lighter dishes and pots higher. In the process I came across my marinator - an accessory for my Food Saver that allowed for the infusing of marinade in meats in a half-hour rather than overnight.
The marinator was missing the piece that connected it to the Food Saver, so I headed to my computer and the Food Saver site. I looked all over the site for the part I needed, but couldn't find it. I sent a message to customer service and received an answer that - sorry, we don't carry small parts like that.
I wrote back, sarcastically, "Well, that's a real incentive to buy a marinator." The agent wrote back and said - sorry we weren;t able to help you. Then came the email asking me to rate my customer service experience.
Usually I ignore those, but that day I was feeling particularly peeved. Most of the questions were irrelevant to my issue, but the final question of the degree to which my issue was resolved -they got a ZERO. The 0 triggered a box for an explanation. Oh boy!
Remember that amazing company, Sears Roebuck, that twice a year put out huge catalogs of everything they sold with the full specifications of all the equipment and appliances (large and small) that they sold? And do you remember you could get parts no matter how small for both the useful life of the product and even beyond? And then they fell victim to the business of the times - the buyout and breaking up of the business for cash.
I ended my comment with: I guess you don't have to worry about that..
Matt, this is one of my favorite Substacks, by far. But I always come away feeling very enlightened and, depending on the topic, slightly to very depressed. You really do excellent work.
Just saw this comment on the MedPage Today site:
"It's not even simply corporate -- private equity firms were gobbling up private practices even before COVID. The pace increased after the epidemic began. It's bad for the physician, but it's also pretty bad for the patient.
Could you look into this? Medical practitioners are getting more and more frustrated, angry and discouraged by what is happening in their profession when the "business model" takes over - with corporations involved and now with those even a step further removed (PE) from the actual purpose of the Med profession, our healthcare system is further fraying - in this day and age of "computer medicine" - people, real people, providing "hands on" care are still the irreplaceable backbone of any decent healthcare system - and when they are treated as widgets, we all suffer ...
man, this is some of the best reading I've done in a LONG time.
I like how you mention BOTH Carter and Reagan. I've been saying for years the beginning of the de-regulation happened under Carter.
Wage and price controls happened under Nixon, De-regulation under Carter.
My conservative friends mind blows when I tell them this.
Tech sector roll ups are always fun. A company called (I kid you not) Progress bought out Chef, which makes DevOps automation, and it seems they have other offerings that clearly are random and have no synergies at all.
I remember when HomeAway bought up all the vacation rental sites back in the late 2000s and began to raise prices while integrating all manner of related services, such as billing and card payments, all for a fee.
Or Vista Equity Partners bought out Acquia, which offered Drupal-based SaaS for basically marketing stuff in 2021. From what I heard, they immediately whacked a ton of employees and outsourced.
This is all quite insidious.
On the flip side, apparently Spectrum (Charter) offers cellular service now. The story I was told is they actually co-own infrastructure with Verizon, and Verizon never thought they'd actually go into the mobile business, so the contract didn't forbid it. So if you have Spectrum Internet, you're eligible for use of Verizon's network without having to pay Verizon fees. I went to pay per GB and it is only $14/mo versus what I was paying Verizon before, about $58.
"...the mass transformation of America from a ‘nation of trademen’ to a ‘nation of clerks"
Clerks or crooks? White collar crime has gone mainstream and become respectable after a generation of looking the other way, meanwhile the judges and enforcers of the "Just us" system have become a laughing stock.
Matt is this the same" Bork"- Judge that was up for the Supreme Court? I think was in the 70`s. Where Biden sat on that committee with Ted Kennedy. Where they block his nomination. On where a question was asked by Kennedy. Why do you want to be on the Supreme Court? Bork replied, that it would be a interesting "experiment". I took that as the reason to block that nomination.
Then McConnell came out with a video- on camera after, "pissed". Stating, and made a val that his future mission in the Senate. Would be to turn the Supreme Court all conservative -Republican`s.
That Bork? which would had been picked by Nixon.
Find it a bit weird that judges are political appointees..politicians are in turn funded by corporates..so do corporates decide who to appoint as judge?!
OK, Matt, who's the McLaren of today? Is there one, or one who has the potential to be one? And how do we sure (s)he gets appointed and adequately funded ...
Evans is an IT market analyst, his narrative is always orthodox with respect to current market logic so it's interesting to read what he writes about (support your arguments)
do you have your own Youtube channel Matt?
came get away from here. Sunday and i got go to work- the old, just to be able to bills.
Old phase, "Think out of Box" redefine it, in order to,, One, first, one has to know what in the their "Tool Box". Then as to these subjects. Fine whats in "Their Tool Box". Then, can one start by pull those tools out?
Maybe to late to post, First glad you here Matt and those that is helping on these areas.
Any help as to looking to Wall street and their funding area. By Gov., Federal Reserve, the different Bond markets. just as Federal Reserve bump up interest rates, to do it or hitting this area as to M&As , "IF" or RULES on how those funds well be used. With not touching NEW business set aside, IF set rules can go into place. Short stop loans to buy-out already Up and running companies. or to buy back own stocks and options.
Private equity ghouls rationalize their actions based on "efficiency." Efficiency for whom? Really, they are just cost-shifting and rent-stealing from consumers, workers, and society as a whole. Yet, the sanctity of such predatory behavior is a linchpin of D.C.'s bipartisanship. How do you change this when most judges appointed since the 1970s are corporate sycophants?