Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. tumbled as the companies appear set to undergo U.S. antitrust probes after the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission agreed to split up oversight of technology giants.
The DOJ’s preparations to investigate Google, first reported late Friday, mark the Trump administration’s first concrete step to scrutinize the potentially anti-competitive conduct of a large technology firm. On Monday, a person familiar with the matter said the FTC will oversee antitrust scrutiny into whether Facebook’s practices harm competition in the digital market. Reuters reported that the DOJ has been given jurisdiction over a potential probe of Apple.
Alphabet fell as much as 7.2% to $1,027.03 in New York, its lowest since January. Facebook tumbled as much as 9.3% to $161.01, the most since July. The news also sent shares of Amazon.com Inc. down as much as 5.4% and Apple as much as 2.7%.
“If the DOJ moves ahead, an investigation would likely embolden critics of Facebook, Amazon and other tech giants as well, causing rhetoric to heat up during the 2020 election year,” analysts led by Justin Post at Merrill Lynch wrote in a note to investors.
Amazon could also be scrutinized as a result of a new agreement between regulators that puts it under the jurisdiction of the FTC, the Washington Post reported over the weekend.