Amazon loses more than $50B in value after report claims Trump influenced by friends to slow company’s growth
NEW YORK: President Donald Trump is “obsessed” with Amazon and wants to go after the company with tax regulations and competition laws, according to reports Wednesday.
“He’s obsessed with Amazon,” according the Axios media outlet that based its report on five sources close to the president.
“He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law,” one source said.
With the boom in online shopping, retail stores and shopping malls have struggled in recent years to keep their doors open and attract customers who would rather avoid the crowds and from a computer or their mobile phones. With its array of products and ease of use, Amazon is viewed by many as a challenge traditional retail.
According to Axios, “Trump’s wealthy friends tell him Amazon is destroying their businesses. His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.”
Trump criticized the e-commerce giant last summer on Twitter when he said, “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”
The president also reportedly argued that Amazon is benefiting from low taxes on online retail and from the U.S. Postal Service that offers quick and low cost deliveries to millions across the U.S.
“It’s been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon,” one source told Trump, according to the report.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced in January that it is considering taxes from online sales and it is expected to rule on it before the end of the year.
Trump has also been vocal about Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his ownership of The Washington Post.
“The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!,” he said on Twitter in December 2015.
“The @washingtonpost loses money (a deduction) and gives owner @JeffBezos power to screw public on low taxation of @Amazon! Big tax shelter,” he added.
Bezos and Amazon have lost millions of dollars since the report Tuesday.
The company’s stock value fell more than 7 percent to as low as $1,387 at 11.20 a.m. (1620GMT).
After a market value of around $724 billion at the close of Monday, the company’s market capitalization also fell to $670 billion.
While Amazon saw $54 billion loss in market cap, it also fell behind Microsoft to the third place among the world’s most valuable companies by market cap.
Bezos owns 17 percent of Amazon shares and saw his personal net worth decline $9 billion to approximately $115 billion.
But no one is crying for Bezos. He still tops Forbes’ real time richest list with $25 billion more than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.–AA