EU antitrust regulators vowed on Monday to scrutinise Canadian group Thomson Corp’s takeover of British financial news and data provider Reuters over concerns the deal could stifle competition.
With Rupert Murdoch now owning Dow Jones, parent to the WSJ and Barrons, one has to wonder what it will take for US regulators to more closely examine the consolidation of business media content.
One good place to begin would be Pearson PLC, the parent to the Financial Times newspaper that also owns a major stake in the Economist magazine. And while conducting this review US regulators might stumble upon Pearson’s highly abusive monopoly over key sections of the college textbook market, thereby price gouging students all across the country.
The issue is that these business media services companies top customers are now unregulated hedge and private equity firms and their various holdings. These customers have learned well from Warren Buffet how to control the media, including bond rating agencies, and thereby influence the value of their investments.
I had a personal experience with this in August 2006 when a reporter from the Financial Times, James Polti, asked me to help him with a major story on private equity. What Polti did was effectively a public relations piece for Oregon PERS and the private equity firms they invest in, with no discussion of the two most important issues surrounding these firms, a tax loophole involving the use of purchased NOL’s and carry fees.