Tech Biz Roundup: Anti-Trust Inquiry Spreads Viral, Facebook Spirals

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Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) antitrust woes continue, as the FTC accelerates its inquiry by asking for information from the company’s competitors – including eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) – regarding its behavior, according to a Bloomberg report. On Monday the European Union said that Google has only “matter of weeks” to settle an investigation and avoid possible penalties. Meanwhile, the company closes on its purchase of Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), which will remain a separate unit. The latter’s CEO Sanjay Jha has resigned and was replaced by “long-time Googler” Dennis Woodside, who was President of Google’s Americas region. The new CEO has already begun an executive shakeup.

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If Monday was bad for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Tuesday is far worse. Trading was halted before noon and remains so until closing, as the shares’ fall tripped a circuit breaker and triggered restrictions on short selling; Finra data shows that 23.6 million shares were shorted on Friday and 6.4 million Monday. As if that were not enough, the SEC and Finra might be preparing to bring separate inquiries into the company’s IPO. Allegations are in the air that analysts for the lead underwriters gave negative views about FB to their select clients before Friday, which Finra Chief Rick Ketchum says is “a matter of regulatory concern”. Further along in what is becoming a feeding frenzy, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the lead underwriter, is being blamed for the shares near-crash on Monday; Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) for the tech problems on Friday; and Facebook for everything else. First among the criticisms, is that the share price was too high and too many of them were sold.

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