Forever: de Beers and U.S. Antitrust Law Essay

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Forever: De Beers and U.S. Antitrust Law

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“As a worldwide dealer in enchanting illusions, Disney has nothing on De Beers.”
- The Economist1
In 1999, a series of spectacular advertisements adorned the bus-sides and billboards of major
American cities. Set against a lush black background, the ads displayed a perfect set of diamond earrings, or a single sparkling solitaire. The lettering, in white, was sparse and to the point: “What better time to celebrate the timelessness of love?” they asked. Or, “What are you waiting for, the year
3000?” Some were even more
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Forever: De Beers and U.S. Antitrust Law

De Beers was accustomed to chaos. The company thrived on it, and had long ago learned to master it. But the millennium posed new challenges — serious challenges with the potential to undermine De Beers’s legendary power and compel a rethinking of its strategy. The millennial campaign was the beginning of this change, an elegant tiptoe into a new kind of diamond market. It was also, though, an innovative legal and political move. For the millennial campaign was centered in the United States, a market that absorbed nearly half the world’s diamond jewelry but also forbade the kind of selling practices upon which De Beers relied. Legally, the entire De Beers group — its officers, its operations, its marketing structure — was in violation of U.S. antitrust law. Legally, then,
De Beers was

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