Democrats in Congress are starting work on changes to antitrust laws that would make it tougher for big companies—most obviously big tech firms—to do acquisitions. Along with antitrust action already begun, the legislation being discussed could even end up forcing tech giants to divest existing businesses. Tech firms are sure to oppose stricter regulations, of course. But here’s a heretical thought: Tech shareholders might be better off if the companies were broken up.
That’s most obviously true of Amazon, a vast conglomerate that would likely be worth at least twice as much divided into two, three or maybe four pieces. Let’s start with Amazon Web Services, which as a separate company would likely be worth $1 trillion, one venture capitalist told The Information a few weeks ago. Amazon itself has a market capitalization of only $1.56 trillion. What’s the e-commerce piece worth? Check out Coupang, the Amazon of South Korea, which went public today and finished with a market capitalization of $84 billion, about seven times its annual sales.