Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Anthem Gives Up Cigna Bid, Vows to Fight on Over Damages. Anthem has ended its soured, $48 billion bid to buy rival Cigna, but the nation’s second-largest health insurer isn’t giving up a fight over whether Cigna deserves a termination fee for the scrapped deal. Anthem said Friday that Cigna sabotaged the merger agreement and caused “massive damages” for Anthem, which provides Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage in several states. Indianapolis-based Anthem announced its decision a day after a Delaware judge refused its request to extend a ban blocking Cigna from pulling out of the deal. The deal, announced in 2015, had already been rejected by a federal judge and an appeals court after antitrust regulators sued last summer to stop it. Anthem Inc. said last week that it would seek a Supreme Court review of the case.
EU to Launch More E-commerce Antitrust Investigations. The European Union plans to launch more antitrust investigations into e-commerce companies after a two-year inquiry uncovered business practices that restrict competition, the European Commission said on Wednesday. In its report on the initial inquiry, the EU executive said it had found an increased use of contractual restrictions to control product distribution, which could be in breach of EU antitrust rules. “Certain practices by companies in e-commerce markets may restrict competition by unduly limiting how products are distributed throughout the EU,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Bumble Bee Foods Fined $25 Million, Admits Price Fixing. Tuna-canning company Bumble Bee Foods has agreed to pay a $25 million fine after pleading guilty to conspiring with competitors to fix prices, the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday. The San Diego-based company will also cooperate with an ongoing antitrust investigation into the packaged seafood industry, the federal agency said. The fine will increase to $81.5 million if the company is sold. The criminal charge reflects broader concerns about competition within the industry.
Trump U.S. Antitrust Nominee Says will be Independent of White House. Makan Delrahim, who was chosen by President Donald Trump to be the top U.S. antitrust regulator, said on Wednesday that he would maintain independence from the White House in enforcing antitrust law. The Senate must still vote to confirm Delrahim.