(CNN) Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an aggressive plan on Friday to break up tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook, targeting the power of Silicon Valley with her populist message as sprawling Internet giants face mounting political backlash ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The far-reaching proposal would impose new rules on certain kinds of tech companies with $25 billion or more in annual revenue, forcing Amazon and Google to spin off parts of their companies and relinquish their overwhelming control over online commerce. The plan also aims to unwind some of the highest profile mergers in the industry, like the combinations of Amazon and Whole Foods, and Google and DoubleClick, as well as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. The proposal from the Democratic presidential candidate is sure to rankle Silicon Valley executives and investors as well as opponents of government regulations, while drawing applause from progressive activists, consumer advocates and a range of lawmakers who have railed against what they see as unsustainable monopolies in the industry. Warren’s presidential campaign shared with CNN details of the plan, which outlines specific measures to break up large tech companies.
It marks the Massachusetts Democrat’s third major policy unveiling so far this year and is yet another sign that the progressive firebrand intends to set herself apart in a growing Democratic field by laying out an ambitious agenda centered around her campaign’s overarching theme of dismantling wealthy and powerful interests.
Elizabeth Warren to release universal child care plan paid by ‘wealth tax’ “Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation,” Warren wrote in a Medium post about the proposal. “That’s why my Administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition—including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.” Read More According to a source familiar with her plans, Warren is expected to promote the new proposal Friday evening in Long Island City, where Amazon recently backed out of its plan to build a massive campus after facing intense political backlash.
The senator is also headed to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Pressed on whether it was a mistake for the Obama administration to approve some of the major tech mergers that she now wants to unwind, Warren told CNN in an interview Friday afternoon in Harlem: “I don’t think it’s the right decision.” “I want the regulators to go back and look,” Warren said. “I think the right decision is to say competition is protected if, once you get that big, you’re not allowed to eat your competitors.
” Asked what her message would be for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Warren responded: “Good for you. You’ve built a great company. But you don’t get to use the benefits of having built a platform to suck up information about every buyer and every seller and then use that information that nobody else can get access to — to let you out-compete the next little business that’s trying to get a foothold.” The senator declined to directly answer the question of whether she would have supported Amazon choosing Boston as the site of its second headquarters.
“What I’m not okay with is the fact that cities are put into this competition against each other, and that they’re asked to give up tax revenues, to build special goods,” she told CNN. Warren’s proposal was greeted with a cheer from New York State Sen. Julia Salazar, a Democratic Socialist ally of freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a vocal opponent of New York’s deal to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Queens.
“I’m glad to see the dangers of monopolistic market power being taken seriously by a leading presidential candidate,” Salazar said in a statement. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other pro-Amazon politicians need to see the danger of sublimating all facets of our daily lives into a single all-encompassing company, which is clearly Amazon’s business model.” The proposal is likely to spur debate in the rest of the Democratic field, which includes hard-charging candidates like Warren but also others who have taken substantial sums of money from Silicon Valley. A Warren aide told CNN the senator has not yet discussed her proposal with colleagues in Congress. The plan would pose existential threats to the business models that turned certain giant tech firms into money spigots. Elizabeth Warren pitches new ‘wealth tax’ on richest Americans Separating Google’s ad business from its Search function, for example, would make Google ads — on which the company depends for nearly all of its revenue — much less valuable. So would requiring Google to divest DoubleClick, the company it acquired in 2008 that vastly expanded the reach of its advertising network.
Warren’s proposal would also prevent Amazon from selling its own branded products through its platform, resulting in lost revenue for the company but not killing the business model of taking a cut of every other transaction on the website. The move would alleviate one of the biggest concerns of other sellers on the marketplace — that Amazon can determine which products are featured and promoted more prominently. Warren’s use of the $25 billion in annual revenue as a measure is notable because currently, antitrust enforcement largely depends on complex and ambiguous legal tests around factors like market share and evidence of price gouging. “I want to make sure that the next generation of great American tech companies can flourish,” Warren wrote in the Medium post.
“To do that, we need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor.” Ahead of Warren’s visit to New York on Friday, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who represents Long Island City and whose opposition threatened to scuttle Amazon’s deal before the company retreated, said, “I am proud the progressive movement in our country runs through Queens. It’s only natural that Presidential candidates are spreading their message in western Queens and I look forward to hearing what Senator Warren has to offer.” .
Lyft IPO — What to know in markets Friday
Lyft takes centerstage on Friday. The ride-sharing company is gearing up to have the biggest tech IPO in two years, at least until rival Uber hits the market. On Thursday evening, Lyft priced its stock at $72 per share , valuing the company at over $20 billion. The stock will debut Friday morning on the…
Lyft takes centerstage on Friday.
The ride-sharing company is gearing up to have the biggest tech IPO in two years, at least until rival Uber hits the market. On Thursday evening, Lyft priced its stock at $72 per share , valuing the company at over $20 billion. The stock will debut Friday morning on the Nasdaq under the ticker LYFT.
And some Wall Street analysts have initiated coverage of the stock ahead of the highly-anticipated IPO.
DA Davidson was the first to get bulled up on Lyft. On March 19, the firm initiated Lyft as a Buy and slapped a $75 price target on the stock.
Analyst Tom White argued, “LYFT is the #2 player in U.
S. ridesharing, but has grown its market share from 22% to 39% in the past two years. LYFT has benefited from PR/management/operational stumbles at its largest competitor, but is deftly maximizing the benefits by aggressively differentiating its brand/mission around socially-conscious values and corporate responsibility. This is good PR, but also good for business.”
Then on Thursday, Wedbush initiated Lyft as Neutral with an $80 price target. “The brand loyalty of Lyft has been quite impressive as the company continues to attract drivers and riders with its brand associated with corporate responsibility and social values, an impressive formula to go after the $1.2 trillion market spent annually in the US,” analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients.
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.
Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung .
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Hong Kong has licensed its first three digital banks — and tech giants may lose out (TCEHY, HSBC, BACHY, BABA, ACN, GS)
Mekebeb Tesfaye 0m This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Briefing subscribers. To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here . The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the territory’s de facto central bank, has granted the first set of its long-awaited digital-only banking licenses,…
Mekebeb Tesfaye 0m This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Briefing subscribers. To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here . The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the territory’s de facto central bank, has granted the first set of its long-awaited digital-only banking licenses, reports Bloomberg. Business Insider Intelligence The first batch of approvals has been given to firms that have partnered with Standard Chartered, Bank of China Hong Kong, and Chinese digital insurance firm ZhongAn, and the firms intend to begin operating within nine months. Although at least two of the joint ventures — with Standard Chartered and ZhongAn, respectively — had been expected to receive approval, the decision not to award licenses to Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has surprised many observers, per the Financial Times. Here’s what it means: The licenses should ignite competition by giving holders access to a hugely profitable banking market where consumers continue to be frustrated by their options.
Hong Kong’s banking sector is heavily dominated by a handful of incumbents.
The four largest lenders — HSBC, Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, and Standard Chartered — account for 66% of retail banking loans and 77% of mortgages, per Bloomberg citing Goldman Sachs. And their share of the market is lucrative: For example, two-thirds of HSBC’s global profits last year came from its retail and wealth management operations in the territory, reports Reuters. However, the new licenses are anticipated to put up to 30% or $15 billion of Hong Kong’s total banking revenues up for grabs — threatening the big four’s entrenched position. Hong Kong registers among the lowest rates of customer satisfaction for a developed economy due to a lack of banking competition. Only 59% of consumers in Hong Kong say they like their bank, compared with 62% of global consumers and the 74% who say the same in the US. Further, less than half (43%) of bank customers in Hong Kong say they have a positive experience when visiting a bank branch, compared with the 57% of global consumers who say the same; and it’s significantly less than the 74% of US customers who report having a positive experience, per an Accenture survey seen by Business Insider Intelligence. Increased competition ushered in by the new license holders should force the old guard to up their game and ultimately improve these customer satisfaction numbers.
The bigger picture: Hong Kong’s efforts to remedy financial services competition and customer satisfaction may hurt established players, but it could also further entrench the position of some.
Although Hong Kong’s big four could be the biggest losers, the likes of Standard Chartered appear to be getting ahead of the curve. The chronic dissatisfaction of the territory’s digitally savvy consumers is a boon for the newly licensed firms, giving them an opportunity to scoop up customers at pace: 68% of customers use digital channels to check their bank accounts at least once a week, per Accenture. Moreover, while the likes of Ant Financial and Tencent haven’t yet received approval, their potential entry into the market could give the old guard a run for their money. However, the fact that Standard Chartered and Bank of China are among the players to be permitted first suggests established players are already in front of the trend. Given their vast resources and existing reach, the newly approved licensing could be an opportunity to maintain the status quo. So, while the licensing is generally good news for consumers, its business impacts for established and new entrants remain to be seen.
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Here comes Lyft… (LYFT)
John Sciulli/Getty Images for Lyft Lyft , the first ride-hailing company to hit the public market, began trading Friday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Its shares opened at $87.24, jumping 21% from the $72 where they priced Thursday evening. That brought its valuation to just over $29 billion. Lyft shares gave back some gains in…
John Sciulli/Getty Images for Lyft
Lyft , the first ride-hailing company to hit the public market, began trading Friday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Its shares opened at $87.24, jumping 21% from the $72 where they priced Thursday evening. That brought its valuation to just over $29 billion.
Lyft shares gave back some gains in the afternoon, but the company still carries a market value of roughly $27 billion. Several Wall Street analysts are already bullish on the world’s second-largest ride-share company.
Watch Lyft trade live .
Lyft , the first ride-hailing company to launch on a US public market, began trading Friday morning under the ticker ” LYFT .” Shares jumped 21% to $87.24 apiece as they opened, bringing the valuation to just over $29 billion.
The company priced its initial public offering at $72 per share the evening prior, at the upper-end of its expected range.
But the newly minted stock’s rally was fading by midday, as shares had given up around half of their opening gains by 1 P.
Lyft was trading just above $81 a share, below where they’d opened earlier in the session.
Lyft’s offering raised about $2.69 billion, which it plans to spend on “working capital, operating expenses, and capital expenditures,” as well as acquiring or investing in businesses, according to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange and Commission.
While potential investors will have a chance to buy into one of the largest US-listed technology IPOs in recent years, one thing they won’t have is equal say in how the company is run.
That’s because Lyft will have a dual-class structure consisting of Class A and Class B shares. That means outside investors of the former are entitled to one vote per share while shareholders in the latter are entitled to 20 votes per share.
Investor appetite for Lyft’s publicly traded shares was strong heading into Friday’s debut despite the company providing no clear timeline for reaching profitability .
Lyft earlier this week raised its expected IPO range from between $62 and $68 a share to $70 to $72 after its offering was oversubscribed . In other words, demand for its IPO exceeded the number of shares issued.
Read more: READY FOR LYFT OFF: Lyft to IPO today at whopping $21 billion valuation
In the race to go public during what’s expected to be a banner year for high-profile IPOs — with Airbnb, Slack, and Peloton all expected to debut — Lyft is set to beat out rival Uber to the public markets.
“In our opinion while Lyft has clearly benefited from some of the negative PR issues that Uber faced in 2017/early 2018, going forward the battle for market share will be a bit more balanced,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to clients earlier this week.
Ives initiated coverage with a “neutral” investment rating and a 12-month price target of $80.
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