President Donald Trump twice sought the advice of a multi-billion dollar investor over whether he considered Amazon a monopoly during a dinner this summer, weeks before federal regulators signed on to acquire Whole Foods Market by the e-commerce giant.
Leon Cooperman, the former partner of Goldman Sachs, which manages hedge fund Omega Advisors, said on Thursday that he attended a dinner with 10 people in July during which President Trump asked him twice about the monopoly.
Cooperman, whose fund held around $ 10.3 million at the end of the third quarter, told CNBC on Thursday that its response to the president was no.
"President Trump asked me twice if I thought Amazon was a monopoly and I said:" No, Mr. President, "Cooperman told CNBC's" Half-Time Report. " executed people. I think they have done a very good job. "
Trump has repeatedly called on Amazon and its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, to take Twitter to their favorite forum to fight the e-commerce company about not charging" Internet Taxes. "(Amazon does collect the state sales tax when applicable.) He also likes to establish connections between another large investment from Bezos, The Washington Post and Amazon.
In June, Amazon announced its important treatment of $ 13.7 billion for the organic supermarket chain, a move that sent shockwaves through the retailer sector.Amazon was blamed for the demise of brick and mortar stores as consumer preferences turned into purchases in line and home deliveries.
Amazon started as an online bookseller in the 1990s and expanded to offer a wide range of products on its website. Ods introduced it to supermarkets and food, a $ 700 billion market in the United States, and awarded it a spring meeting of 465 locations that can serve as distribution centers for a variety of products. It is also believed that Amazon is exploring the pharmaceutical or medical device industry and recently introduced a fashion platform.
The Federal Trade Commission celebrated the Whole Foods agreement in August.
Trump seems to have reserved his antitrust fight for another giant deal: the pending AT & T buyout of Time Warner, which now goes to court. Trump, who also openly criticized Time Warner's CNN news channel, said that since his campaign he would not allow that agreement to be carried out because it concentrates too much power.
Antitrust is a big risk for Amazon and other technology giants such as Facebook and Google, Cooperman said. "Governments are going to screw up on this and that is a risk."
The hedge fund manager resolved accusations of insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year. Cooperman said Trump suggested at the July dinner that the SEC case presented in September 2016 was a reprisal for an open letter that Cooperman published to President Obama in 2011 criticizing his anti-Wall Street views.
"I changed the subject very quickly," Cooperman said of the discussion of Amazon's monopoly. "He told me:" Lee, you have a fabulous reputation, do you think your open letter to President Obama created your problems with the SEC? "
" I told him I did not know, "Cooperman recalled," President, yes, he treated me very unfairly, but I have to continue with my life "