Facebook now worth $1trn after antitrust cases thrown out

29 Jun 2021

Image: © prima91/Stock.adobe.com

The cases taken by the FTC and 40 states against Facebook were rejected by a federal judge in a major blow to efforts to clamp down on Big Tech.

Facebook soared to a valuation of $1trn yesterday (28 June), shortly after a US federal judge threw out major antitrust lawsuits against the company.

After the ruling, Facebook’s shares grew 4pc to a $1trn market cap for the first time.

The antitrust cases had been taken by the US Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 state attorneys general. The decision is a blow to efforts to break up the tech giant.

Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia said the FTC’s case did not show that Facebook had a monopoly in social media. The FTC has until 29 July to file a new case.

In the case brought by states, which was challenging Facebook’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram and its 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp, Boasberg said too much time had elapsed.

“We are pleased that today’s decisions recognise the defects in the government complaints filed against Facebook,” the company said in a statement. “We compete fairly every day to earn people’s time and attention and will continue to deliver great products for the people and businesses that use our services.”

The judge’s decisions eased investor sentiment as Facebook stock started to rise. With its new 13-figure valuation, the company has now joined an elite club where Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft reside.

Microsoft recently hit a $2trn market cap, joining Apple in those lofty heights. Google and Amazon will be the next ones to watch as they creep closer and closer to the $2trn mark.

Facebook’s new valuation is a milestone for the company but as the trillion-dollar club gains a new member – which is also a major tech company – it gains more attention and scrutiny over its power.

The FTC and state attorneys general said they are considering their legal options after Monday’s decision. It is unlikely the matter will be going away any time soon.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, Facebook has been met with competition probes in both the EU and the UK that challenge its Marketplace and dating products.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin