Forever: de Beers and U.S. Antitrust Law

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DEBORA SPAR

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
…show more content…
The millennial campaign also occurred at a time of rapid change at the closely-held corporation. While the ads purred of luxury and langour, De Beers was facing turmoil on all fronts: in western Africa, where illicit diamonds were flowing from the war-torn fields

1 “Glass With Attitude,” The Economist, December 20, 1997, p. 113.
2 SG Frankel Pollak Securities, Ltd., De Beers: Interim Forecasts, March 1999, p.1; HSBC Simpson McKie, Morning Meeting Notes:
De Beers, August 10, 1999, pp. 3-4.
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Research Associate Jennifer L. Burns prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Debora Spar. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2000 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or

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