Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

I would like to talk to you
about business.
The thing that everyone
onShark Tank
thinks they have
a great idea for,

even this guy.
Our cakes…
are made of foam,
and they’re rentals.
So, I can neither have my cake,
nor eat it too?
I am in,
here is a million dollars.
Small start-up businesses
like that
hold a special place
in America’s heart
and politicians from across
the political spectrum
love to talk
about how important they are.
Small business is the backbone
of the American economy.
Small businesses
are the backbone
of this nation’s economy.
BOTH: Small businesses are
the backbone of our economy.
BOTH: Small businesses are
the backbone–
ALL: Small businesses are
the backbone of our economy.
ALL: Small businesses are
the backbone of our economy.
ALL: Small businesses are
the backbone of our economy.
-It’s true.
“Small businesses are
the backbone of our economy”
is that rare thing that
every politician agrees on.
It’s that,
support the troops,
-Ted Cruz can go fuck himself…
…and South Dakota senator
John Thune can get it,
-he can get it!
Now, look, it can feel like
we’re in a golden age
of small business start-ups, but
that isn’t actually the case.
The rate at which new businesses
are been created
has actually being
steadily falling
since the 1970s.
And I would argue that
one of the reasons for that,
is that big businesses,
have been getting even bigger,
which brings us
to our main topic tonight,
“Corporate Consolidation.”
Recent years, have seen
record highs
for mergers and acquisitions.
As you would know,
if you’ve ever watched
the thrilled reactions they get
on business news.
M&A has been hot,
continues to be hot.
An exciting year for M&A.
A few blockbuster deals
being announced.
They call it “Merger Monday,”
on Wall Street.
It is shaping up to be another
“Merger Monday.”
They don’t call it
“Merger Monday” for nothing.
-Media mega “Merger Monday.”
-“Merger Monday.”
M– M– M…
“Merger Monday”?
-At last we have one, I say…
-♪ Hallelujah ♪

Okay, that was obviously
a little nauseating, but also,
pressing a button on TV
is a little bit dangerous
because someone could take
that footage
and then loop any sound
that they want under there.
Now, obviously I’m not immature
enough to do that
but if I were
it would look like this.
“Merger Monday”?
At last we have one,
and I say…
The point is–
This point is, all this
merger activity
has all made some sectors
of our economy
ridiculously consolidated.
NEWSCASTER:The United States
has gone from having

ten large airlines back in 2000
to just four today.

And those four mega airlines
now dominate

more than 80 percent
of the U.S. market.

Yeah, we down to just four
major airline choices,
and no that does not include
jetBlue because that
is not actually an airline.
It’s just a very expensive way
to eat those weird blue chips…
-…which are, and this is true
-just sliced Grover arms.
Look, and airlines here are
just the beginning.
The rental car business
is now 90 percent dominated
by just three companies.
The U.S. beer industry
is 70 percent controlled
by just two companies,
and online search engines are
of course as we all know
dominated by one major player.
That’s right say it with me,
That’s right. Bing, the best way
to Google something.
In fact, look,
full disclosure here.
Even our own parent company,
Time Warner
is currently trying to merge
with AT&T,
which makes this story
a little dangerous for us to do.
Although you know,
that is presuming
that AT&T executives manage
to get there shitty service
working long enough to see it.
it’s the top
telecom company around
alphabetically and nothing else.
-Look, even some brands,
that you might think
of as indie
now have multinational owners.
Burt’s Bees?
It’s– it’s not run
by a backward bee fucker
-called Burt.
It’s run by Clorox.
Tom’s of Maine,
the deodorant
which did so little to deodorize
your freshmen year roommate.
That’s not owned
by Colgate-Palmolive.
And then there was Goose Island.
Now, their ads feature
beardy brewers rubbing
-hops on their faces.
But what they don’t mention
is that Goose Island
is owned by Anheuser-Busch,
and that farm that you just saw
is located at
822 Budweiser Loop.
It’s presumably just passed
Bud Light lime-a-rita boulevard.
Basically, if you see the mass
grave of Clydesdale horses,
turn left and you’re there.
-And it says something
about the rapid rate of mergers
that even Jim Cramer,
finds himself in disbelief
at one happening.
Watch him react to a mega merger
in the aluminum can industry.
Ball Corp’s acquisition of Rexam
is taking the number
of competitors
in this space down to,
get this,
-from three to two.
How did they let that happen?
It’s not great when
a business casual Louis C.K.
with a sound effects board
is saying, “Holy shit
this was a really bad idea.”
“how did they let that happen?”
Is actually
a really good question.
And the answer is interesting,
because we’ve had
anti-trust laws on the books
for more than a century.
And I’m not saying that
every single merger is bad.
Sometimes businesses
getting bigger can lead
to greater efficiencies
and improvements.
The tension is between
allowing that
and preventing them
from doing real harm.
So it’s a– it’s a balance.
But since the late 1970s,
that balance
has tipped decidedly in favor
of being merger friendly,
which has led
to real problems.
And let’s start
with the obvious,
for workers, mergers can
often mean big layoffs,
but it’s not just employees
that can suffer,
consumers can too,
as Jim Cramer explained,
in that aluminum can segment
in an inexplicably
sarcastic tone of voice.
I always say competition,
while great for you, a consumer,
is it enough amount of profits.
Sometimes a business would be
a total monopoly
with no competition whatsoever,
and while that’s the ideal,
it’s very rare to see
a genuine monopoly,
-because of course,
it’s against the law.
Which brings us to the next
best thing, an oligopoly,
where a handful of companies
control an entire industry,
co-existing peacefully
without much in the way
of price competition.
-That’s a weird tone to use…
…to describe something
that’s clearly awful.
It’s rare to see genuine
bestiality because of course
it’s against the law.
Which brings us to the next
best thing,
having sex
with the stuffed animal
while looking at pictures
of a real horse.
And– And for sense of what
it can look like
when a handful of companies
co-exist peacefully
without much in the way
of price competition,
just look at airlines.
In 2012, one airline executive
told an industry conference,
Consolidation has allowed us
to do things like
ancillary revenues,
which is jargon
for all those fees
that drive you fucking crazy!
Now, American was the first
major airline
to charge you for your
first checked bag back in 2008,
and back then people
could not believe it.
NEWSCASTER:American Airlines
will soon charge $15

for the first checked bag.
That on top of a fee
of $25

-for your second one.
-Fifteen dollars? Holy cow.
I’ll have to put
my underwear in my pocket.
First, that is clearly
a delightful man.
Although, it does makes you
wonder whether he
fills his bags full of underwear
and nothing else.
-But– But within months,
most major airlines had followed
American’s lead
and it was essentially
industry standard.
And it is easy
for that to happen
when there’s only a handful
of big players.
In fact since then they have
added and increased bag fees
multiple times,
often moving in tandem,
which is how those fees have
gone generating around
540 million dollars a year
a decade ago,
to 4.2 billion dollars now.
And that is infuriating.
After all,
if I wanted exorbitant fees
that keep getting raised all
the time despite shitty service,
I’d become a customer of AT&T.
-Fuck you AT&T!
Even if you take over
you’ll never be my real dad!
And, look, you– you may
well be angry
with the service you get
from airlines
but thanks to consolidation,
they don’t really need
to give a shit
about what you think.
And if you don’t believe me?
Remember that awful video that
went around earlier this year.
NEWSCASTER:The shocking images
of a passenger

caught in a travel nightmare.
A man visibly shaken
as he’s yanked

and then dragged of a United jet
by law enforcement.

All after refusing
to give up his seat.

that’s the most horrifying thing
you can possibly see
on an airplane,
unless your in-flight movie
isThe Boss Baby.
A movie that combines
the unbearable smugness
of Alec Baldwin
with an unbearable smugness
-of a baby.
Now, in the wake
of that incident,
people said
it was a PR nightmare
and there was talk on Twitter
of boycotting United.
The problem is on certain routes
they’re the only option.
So, a boycott is gonna be
pretty hard to pull-off,
and that is arguably why
their CEO
was later able to open his
earnings call for that quarter,
by describing a period in which,
I will remind you,
a passenger had his teeth
knocked out
on one of United’s planes,
like this.
OSCAR MUNOZ:Welcome to
a terrific second quarter,
strong financial

results and even uh,
more incredible

operational results. And as you
think of our customers,

I want to thanks them for their
continued loyalty and support.

We continue to find new
and better ways to service them

and make the more comfortable
on our airline.

-And you know what?
Is it really any wonder that
their earnings stayed solid.
United, is sometimes
the only way to get
to where you are going.
Which actually explains
their new slogan,
“You wanna fuckin’ roller blade
to Houston? Shut up and get in!”
And when and industry gets
too consolidated,
any company trying to compete
with them
or survive in their
supply chain, can get crushed.
Now we all know about Amazon,
Walmart or Google,
but there are less
obvious examples of this too.
Take eye-wear. Now if you go
into a Lens Crafters,
you’ll see frames
by brands like um,
Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry
and Ralph Lauren.
All of which it turns out,
are made by an Italian company
called Luxotica,
which incidentally also owns
Lens Crafters and Sunglass Hut
and Pearle Vision and runs
Target Optical,
and Sears Optical. So, what can
happen when a smaller company
goes up against them?
Well, just ask Oakley.
Oakley was a big competitor

and they had a fight
with Luxotica
and Luxotica basically said,
we’re dropping you
from our stores.
-They refused
-to sell their glasses…
-BRETT: Yeah.
-…in their store?
-It was a dispute about pricing,
and they dropped Oakley
from the stores.
And Oakley’s
stock price collapsed.
There were some issues between
the two companies
in the beginning
of the 2000s, but…
both of them understood
that it was better to go along.
We merged with Oakley in 2007.
-You bought Oakley.
-So we’re talking–
They tried to compete
and they lost
and then you bought them.
I understand your theory, but…
they understood that life
was better together.
That is the menacing tone
of a Bond villain,
They understood that life was
better together, Mr. Bond, no?
That is the first time
that I’ve ever felt sorry
for Oakley.
The official sunglasses
of guys who
un-ironically use
the term “finger blasting.”
And– I think
it’s a sponsorship deal.
And– And there is one
more victim of consolidation
that you may not think about,
and that
is the products themselves.
heavily consolidated industries
can lose the incentive
to innovate
and the best example of this
may be the cable box
beneath your TV.
If you have one of those,
you probably hate it.
Because it’s huge, it’s glitchy,
and it’s may be one
of the largest energy
consuming items in your house
even when it’s turned off.
But if you think about it,
cable companies have no real
incentive to improve them.
They’re essentially regional–
regional monopolies.
And again, they know
that you basically
have no where else to go.
And you can’t even smash your
cable box out of frustration,
because you’re renting it
and they’ll then charge you
hundreds of dollars
if you don’t give it back.
Which is why
we went through the trouble
of blowing this one up for you.
Please take a look.
There you go.
Pretty cathartic to watch,
-I hope that helps.
Feel free to watch it again
in slow motion.
I want you to know
that box suffered.
-The point here is,
we seem to have forgotten,
how important Anti-Trust is.
And now are being forced
to live with the consequences.
Because this issue affects
almost everything you do.
Angry at banks?
Well, the industry’s dominated
by just these four.
Frustrated with your
health insurance provider?
Odds are, it’s one of these.
And if this whole story
is infuriating you so much
that you’re yearning
for the sweet escape of death?
Well bad luck,
because the casket industry
is controlled
by these three companies.
Oh, and it gets even worse.
The after life is actually
controlled by one religion.
I’m not saying which one,
but when you find out
you’re gonna be so mad.
-The point– The point is–
The point is, we have laws
to prevent the worse effects
of consolidation.
And it may well be time
to more aggressively use them
to impose strict standards
and to empower the FTC
and the DOJ’s
anti-trust divisions.
And that is something that
most people
would really get behind,
and nearly
every politician should.
After all, there is one thing
they can not stop saying.
ALL: Small businesses are
the backbone of our economy.
Well, if they
really believe that,
it may be time for them
to stop talking about backbones
and actually fucking grow one.
-And now this.
All of Jim Cramer’s
sound buttons

replaced with fart noises.
Hedge-Funds that are in trouble
start selling,
not because they want to,
-but because they have
to raise money…
to pay back their
unhappy clients.
-Things keep working out.
Is it any wonder
that Norfolk Southern
-and Union Pacific keep running?
-Buy high and then sell low!
A time-honored way
to lose money.
-Sell it tomorrow…
…because the whole idea
of saving for retirement
-puts you to sleep.
-I want you to feel embolden…
As we tell you what we would do
before we pull any trigger.
-I was wrong on both counts.

100 thoughts on “Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)”

  1. The phrase you can't have your cake and eat it makes absolutely no sense to me… what are you supposed to do with the cake you have if not eat it?

  2. in the uk it's much less bad, other than half of it being the government's so we improve quicker

  3. What's wrong with rollerblading to Houston? You can save a ton of money. And, you don't have to worry about your cheap ass Boeing jet falling out of the sky.

  4. Many years ago, I read a short story that has always stuck with me. It was set at sometime in the "future". There were no longer any countries or any borders. The entire world was ruled by 8-9 mega-corporations. Everyone on the planet worked for one of these corporations because there were no other jobs available, and these corporations were the sole producers/source of all food or anything else that you needed to survive/live. These corporations, of course, made all the laws people had to follow.

    Pretty eerie/scary. but, nowadays, I can really see that that could happen. Look at all the major corporations who are more powerful than many of the governments of many countries. Think about the 2008 financial crisis and how many big banks were seen as "too big to fail", so we had no choice to bail them out or major parts of the world economies would fail.

  5. Luxottica is why glasses frames are like $500, or were back in the 90s and 2000s. I need new frames and I'll see ads for or whatever and I'm already confused if these are just cheap knock offs or actually a small business trying to fight. The fact remains that the US never did anything about it for 30 some years.

  6. For a deeper history of why antitrust laws are how they are, NPR's Planet Money podcast did a great 3 part series last February going into the history and how we got here. Starts with Antitrust 1: Standard Oil (2/15/2019). Having context for these conversions is important.

  7. upvoted because I agree it's a problem even though you're still an unfunny bong who didn't make me laugh even once.
    did you not have a comedy loicense, ya smug little git?

  8. 13:17 – I think what's basically saying is that the Afterlife is controlled by our Lady of Perpetual Exemption

  9. Yeah AT&T was once a separate cellphone company until they were bought by SBC who then adopted the name for its brand name including the stock name.. Why do I know this? I was working at a call center in the 90's for "SBC/ATT Yahoo internet". People were calling in after discovering a $20/month charge on their phone bill. At the time not as many people had computers.. In one case an owner of an apartment complex was calling to cancel that $20 dial-up internet under the yahoo brand.. on the building's elevator's emergency phone. I provided a refund to folks who had the service for sometimes years.. the customer would call about some other issue and would end up with the dial-up internet added to their phone bill even if they didn't have a computer.. I would refund sometimes years worth of this tacked on service.. until one day a manager called me into the office to tell me I could no longer provide a full refund (actually just a credit applicable to their phone bill) And the manager said "if they want a refund they can fight for it" Once again that's SBC who is now known as as AT&T. Have fun!

  10. 13:04 – Credit Unions.
    13:08 – Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist hospitals. Pay cash.
    13:17 – Cremation – in a $17.00 cardboard box.
    13:26 – Muslims aren't told that the word 'virgins' was mistranslated. It should say 70 raisins.

  11. 13:04 – Credit Unions.
    13:08 – Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist hospitals. Pay cash.
    13:17 – Cremation – in a $17.00 cardboard box.
    13:26 – Muslims aren't told that the word 'virgins' was mistranslated. It should say 70 raisins.

  12. 13:04 – Credit Unions.
    13:08 – Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist hospitals. Pay cash.
    13:17 – Cremation – in a $17.00 cardboard box.
    13:26 – Muslims aren't told that the word 'virgins' was mistranslated. It should say 70 raisins.

  13. 13:04 – Credit Unions.
    13:08 – Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist hospitals. Pay cash.
    13:17 – Cremation – in a $17.00 cardboard box.
    13:26 – Muslims aren't told that the word 'virgins' was mistranslated. It should say 70 raisins.

  14. 13:04 – Credit Unions.
    13:08 – Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist hospitals. Pay cash.
    13:17 – Cremation – in a $17.00 cardboard box.
    13:26 – Muslims aren't told that the word 'virgins' was mistranslated. It should say 70 raisins.

  15. Did you know you could strip one end of a length of coax, use a 'thumbscrew' (not the Roman Catholic version) to attach it snugly to a nearby metal sliding glass door frame, for example, and get about 10 channels?

  16. Did you know you could strip one end of a length of coax, use a 'thumbscrew' (not the Roman Catholic version) to attach it snugly to a nearby metal sliding glass door frame, for example, and get about 10 channels?

  17. Did you know you could strip one end of a length of coax, use a 'thumbscrew' (not the Roman Catholic version) to attach it snugly to a nearby metal sliding glass door frame, for example, and get about 10 channels?

  18. Did you know you could strip one end of a length of coax, use a 'thumbscrew' (not the Roman Catholic version) to attach it snugly to a nearby metal sliding glass door frame, for example, and get about 10 channels?

  19. I love compilation clips like that because it exemplifies the meaningless bullshit that politicians say to sound good. Small business actually isn’t respected by the US because most of them fail and their creators go into huge amounts of debt. They don’t get support by governments whilst mega corporations get massive subsidies and bailouts.

  20. Another reason it is harder to keep a small company afloat is regulations. Democrats push them out the ass in places like California making it far to costly. It's why Texas has substantially higher success rates of small businesses, far more opening yearly, and less bankruptcy files despite a similar population. Keep government away from small business.

  21. John…you were funny with the Jon Stewart show…now your just a
    buffoon… the liberal puppeteers has their hands so far up your ass these

  22. John…you were funny with the Jon Stewart show…now your just a
    buffoon… the liberal puppeteers has their hands so far up your ass these

  23. I love BING. Google is pay to play and basically is sponsored by Skynet and what they want you to think, buy and believe.

  24. Adam Ruins Everything Podcast and Tv show

    Guess the show and episode:
    Woman:u don’t have a tv license?
    Man: no
    Woman: you will be executed for that
    Man: I would like to see them try.

  25. It's just gotten worse. The giant companies are now just eating themselves. Capitalism unchecked is just killing us.

  26. And as a Truck Driver with a keen interest in the industry as a whole, this has reminded me of several things I've read…it appears that Daimler AG, Volkswagen Group, Volvo, and PACCAR, between them, own at leat 17 truck brands around the world (including all North American brands: Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, MACK, Western Star, Sterling…and Daimler owns Detroit Diesel)…and also 12 Car brands. Obviously there's Mercedes-Benz (Daimler), VW (Volkswagen, and Volvo (Volvo), but VW also owns Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti, Seat, and Skoda.

  27. I think the biggest issue is everyone just wants to fight and no one wants to FUCKIN AGREE FOR ONCE its all a big Debate-O-Rama for them man really your gonna support Aborting a live baby at 9 months? killing a child just because Your SELFISH ass cant see it yet? If you dont want it then fucking put it up to ADOPTION this shit is disgusting all you "Democrats" Are playing into Evil and you cant even see it.

  28. Jim Cramer will forever have a place in my heart, for having a cameo at the very beginning of the MCU

  29. Amtrak is a perfectly good way to travel between States.

    Especially if you're only going a State or two away.

    If you'd rather not fly for an hour or two, and you've got a couple days and were considering taking a Greyhound bus anyway, the Train is the same price, sometimes even cheaper, makes far fewer stops on the way, and you can walk up to the dining car and sit looking out the window the whole way with all the legroom you could ever need!

  30. That's why American Democrats instead of focus on racism and sexism which consume 90% of the media. Focus on legislation which has a positive effect on lower, middle income families.

  31. I don't know if it's because I'm immature, but I was laughing my ass off with the replacement fart noises….!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  32. almost every episode of Jon Oliver makes me wanna subscribe hit the like button and favorite the video more than once during watching XD

  33. The hashtag "LeningradLindsey" trended on Twitter Thursday after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) forced a controversial asylum bill through committee.

  34. There was a whole chapter on Oligopolies in my Micro-economics 101 class…yea, they're almost as bad as monopolies. It's so easy to get around the pricing competition. If there's a industry leader, all they need to do is raise prices, which is a signal to everyone else to also raise prices. Or, they just monitor each other's prices and match them, and when they notice this is happening, decide not to compete based on price (sometimes even raising prices), but rather on advertising. I could go on and on about how Oligopolies ruin competition and therefore screw over the consumers…but you already knew that. I will add though, that these companies are usually the biggest donors to politicians…which you know, isn't suspicious at all and totally not correlated to anti-trust laws not being followed…

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