Friday, July 30, 2021

Facebook worth US$1 trillion for the first time ever

The company's shares soared after a judge threw out accusations of it having a monopoly because it owns WhatsApp and Instagram.

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Facebook Inc leapt into trillion-dollar territory on Monday as a late-afternoon stock rally helped power the company past the milestone valuation mark, MarketWatch is reporting.

Shares of Facebook gained 4.2% in Monday’s trading session after a federal judge dismissed an antitrust case that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had brought against the social-media giant.

The judge determined that the FTC didn’t provide enough facts to back up its argument that Facebook is a social-networking monopoly. He wrote that the FTC had “failed to plead enough facts” to back up its claim that Facebook was stifling competition.

The FTC’s lawsuit had requested that the technology giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, be broken up because it is too powerful.

“The FTC’s complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually has,” wrote the judge.

Facebook and other Big Tech companies are coming under increasing scrutiny from regulators, but the judge’s determination on Monday indicates potentially steeper hurdles for regulatory bodies looking to clamp down on tech giants.

Facebook closed the trading day with a market cap of US$1,008,404.77, according to Dow Jones Market Data, becoming just the fifth US company to cross the US$1 trillion valuation threshold, behind Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google parent Alphabet Inc.

It’s been a momentous past few days for Big Tech market-cap milestones, as Microsoft broke through the US$2 trillion barrier last week.

Facebook’s market cap hit a 2020 low of US$416.2 billion last March and the company has added more than US$592 billion to its valuation since then, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

The market-cap gains since Facebook’s pandemic bottom are worth more than the entire market caps of Visa, Nvidia, and JPMorgan Chase, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

While this is a setback for the FTC that some analysts say could have repercussions for the future of anti-competition law in the US, the watchdog has until July 28 to re-file the charges.

This lawsuit had sought to force Facebook to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp. It accused the company of using its power and wealth to reduce competition by buying up companies that could become threatening. It specifically related to Facebook’s acquisition of the two apps in 2012 and 2014.

In March, Facebook described the FTC complaint as “nonsensical”.

The tech giant said the FTC’s case “ignores the reality of the dynamic, intensely competitive high-tech industry in which Facebook operates”.

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