February 20, 2017

The Antitrust Week In Review

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

Anthem Sues Cigna to Block Termination of Merger.  Anthem on Wednesday won a temporary restraining order that blocks smaller rival Cigna from officially terminating their proposed $54 billion merger, a transaction already rejected by U.S. antitrust regulators.  The deal would have created the largest U.S. health insurer.  Rivals Aetna and Humana had sought their own merger, representing an unprecedented consolidation among U.S. health insurers.  In separate rulings, federal judges struck down both deals as anticompetitive, at the request of the Justice Department.  Aetna and Humana said on Tuesday they were ending their deal, but Anthem filed an appeal of its ruling.

Top Antitrust Senators Call for Sessions to Scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner Merger.  The top senators on the  Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel are urging the U.S. Department of Justice to scrutinize the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger for the possibility that it leads to anticompetitive practices.  The subcommittee’s chair, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointing to aspects of the deal that they find troubling.

U.S. Antitrust Obstacles Seen for T-Mobile, Sprint Deal.  Japan’s SoftBank Corp Group may have renewed interest in combining its Sprint Corp with Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile US Inc., but a deal between the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers may not make it past U.S. regulators, antitrust experts and industry watchers said.  SoftBank is prepared to give up control of Sprint to T-Mobile, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.  The companies are expected to begin negotiations in April after the Federal Communications Commission’s auction of airwaves concludes.

Kraft Heinz Offers to Buy Unilever in $143 Billion Deal.  The world’s grocery carts could soon be filled with more and more products from one global colossus.  Food, beverage and consumer-goods companies have been seeking merger partners to obtain greater scale and efficiencies as consumers, particularly younger shoppers, eschew the boxed and jarred foods of their parents’ generation.  Now, one such recently merged giant, Kraft Heinz, has set its sights on the biggest target to date: Unilever, the home of Dove soap and Axe body spray, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.  But a merger would be certain to draw antitrust reviews by regulators from many countries.

Leave a comment »

Categories: Antitrust Litigation, Antitrust Policy, General

    February 13, 2017

    The Antitrust Week In Review

    Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

    U.S. Court Blocks Anthem-Cigna Merger, Dealing Blow to Consolidation.  A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against U.S. health insurer Anthem’s proposed $54 billion merger with smaller rival Cigna, derailing an unprecedented effort to consolidate the country’s health insurance industry.  The U.S. Justice Department sued in July to stop Anthem’s purchase of Cigna, a deal that would have created the largest U.S. health insurer by membership, and Aetna’s planned $33 billion acquisition of Humana.  The merger would have worsened an already highly concentrated market and is likely to raise prices, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said while issuing the ruling against Anthem’s deal.

    Tyson Reveals SEC Subpoena, Likely Tied to Pricing Lawsuits.  Tyson Foods says it has been subpoenaed by federal regulators, likely related to an investigation in connection with allegations that the company and others colluded to fix poultry prices.  The Springdale, Arkansas-based meat producer said in a regulatory filing it received the subpoena Jan. 20 from the Securities and Exchange Commission.  It said it is cooperating with the investigation, which is in an “early stage.”

    BT Supports Google’s Android in EU Antitrust Row.  BT has become the first major telecoms company to back Google in a battle with EU regulators, defending the “stability and compatibility” of the Android operating system, which is in the sights of antitrust regulators.  The EU says Google stifles competition by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install its search function and browser to access its other apps, such as Google Play, on Android.  EU regulators were already investigating the U.S. company over the promotion of its own shopping service in its search engine before they opened a second front last year.

    Mylan Agreed to Pay $96.5 Mln in Provigil Antitrust Class Action.  Mylan has agreed to pay $96.5 million to settle claims by drug purchasers that it delayed launching a generic version of Cephalon’s narcolepsy drug Provigil in exchange for payment from Cephalon.  The settlement was disclosed in a filing by the drug purchasers in Pennsylvania federal court on Friday and must still be approved by the court.  The money will go to purchasers that bought brand-name Provigil from Cephalon directly, like wholesalers and distributors.

    Leave a comment »

    Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

      January 30, 2017

      The Antitrust Week In Review

      Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

      Amazon Offers to Scrap E-book Clauses to Settle EU Antitrust Probe.  Amazon has offered to alter its e-book contracts with publishers in a bid to end an EU antitrust probe and stave off a possible fine, the European Commission said on Tuesday.  Amazon, the biggest e-book distributor in Europe, proposed to drop some clauses in its contracts so publishers will not be forced to give it terms as good as those for rivals, the Commission said.  Such clauses relate to business models, release dates, catalogs of e-books, features of e-books, promotions, agency prices, agency commissions and wholesale prices.

      Judge Blocks Aetna’s $37 Billion Deal for Humana.  A federal judge ruled that a $37 billion merger between the health insurance giants Aetna and Humana should not be allowed to go through on antitrust grounds, siding with the U.S. Justice Department, which had been seeking to block the deal.  The deal is one of two mega-mergers proposed by the nation’s largest health insurers; both were challenged by the Obama administration. Another federal judge is expected to rule soon on the case involving Anthem and Cigna, the larger of the two deals, at $48 billion.

      FTC Settles Pay-for-Delay Lawsuit, Files Two Related Complaints.  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that it has settled allegations that Endo Pharmaceuticals violated antitrust law when it agreed to pay rivals Watson Laboratories and Impax to delay introducing generic versions of two painkillers.  The FTC filed charges against Watson, and Allergan Plc , accusing it of breaking the law by reaching an agreement with Endo to block a generic competitor for the local anesthetic Lidoderm.

      As Regulators Waver, Apple Takes on Qualcomm in Courts.  Apple’s new legal assault on Qualcomm in the United States and China reflects its conclusion that regulators are unlikely to put an end to what it considers the chip maker’s unfair business practices, according to analysts.  Apple has long objected to Qualcomm’s practice of charging for the “modem” chips that help phones use wireless networks data plans and its demands for a license fee based on the total price of the phones.  Qualcomm was the original inventor of a number of key wireless technologies.

      Leave a comment »

      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

        January 23, 2017

        The Antitrust Week In Review

        Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

        Apple Depicts Qualcomm as a Shady Monopolist in $1B Lawsuit.  Apple is suing mobile chip maker Qualcomm for $1 billion in a patent fight pitting the iPhone maker against one of its major suppliers.  The 100-page complaint filed Friday in a San Diego federal court depicts Qualcomm as a greedy monopolist abusing its power in a key segment of the mobile chip market to extort royalties for iPhone innovations that have nothing to do with Qualcomm’s technology.

        EU Antitrust Regulators Welcome Amazon, Apple Audiobook Deal.  A decision by Amazon and Apple to scrap all exclusivity obligations in the supply and distribution of audiobooks will likely boost competition, EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday.  The companies announced their decision on Jan. 5 after talks with the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office.  Such curbs had prompted a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association to both regulators, triggering an investigation by the German enforcer in November 2015.

        FTC Not Sold on Walgreens’ Plan to Win Nod for Rite Aid Deal: Bloomberg.  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is not satisfied with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s plan to divest stores to win antitrust clearance for its acquisition of Rite Aid Corp, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.  The FTC is not convinced that Walgreen’s proposal to sell 865 drugstores to Fred’s Inc. would do enough to preserve competition that would be lost in the $9.4 billion tie-up, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

        U.S. Top Court Rejects Banks over Libor Antitrust Lawsuits.   The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed private antitrust lawsuits brought by investors including big U.S. cities accusing major banks of conspiring to manipulate the pivotal Libor benchmark interest rate to move forward.  The justices rejected an appeal filed by a group of banks including Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of a May 2016 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that allowed various lawsuits against them to proceed.

        Leave a comment »

        Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation

          January 17, 2017

          The Antitrust Week In Review

          Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

          Obama’s Work to Limit Mergers May Stop With Trump Administration.  A nascent effort by the Obama administration to limit corporate consolidation, begun after officials concluded that a lack of competition was hurting the American economy, appears to be coming to an abrupt end as the Trump administration takes charge.  President-elect Donald J. Trump railed against media company mergers on the campaign trail, promising to block the proposed combination of AT&T and Time Warner, but conservatives and liberals alike say they see no evidence Mr. Trump will be worried about the continuing rise of megacompanies in other parts of the economy once he takes office.

          U.S. Appeals Court Revives Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple.  iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple Inc. over allegations that the company monopolized the market for iPhone apps by not allowing users to purchase them outside the App Store, leading to higher prices, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday.  The  U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling revives a long-simmering legal challenge originally filed in 2012 taking aim at Apple’s practice of only allowing iPhones to run apps purchased from its own App Store.  A group of iPhone users sued saying the Cupertino, California, company’s practice was anticompetitive.

          Source: Obama DOJ Won’t Push Antitrust Case Against Airlines.  The Justice Department, which started investigating alleged collusion between the nation’s major airlines in mid-2015, will not bring an antitrust case against the carriers before the Obama administration leaves office at the end of next week, according to a person familiar with the situation.  The civil investigation has not been closed, cautioned the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Justice Department has not announced anything publicly.

          AT&T Chief Executive, Trump Meet Amid Planned Time Warner Merger.  AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson on Thursday met in New York with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, an opponent of the company’s acquisition of Time Warner Inc.  A spokeswoman for Trump confirmed the meeting after Stephenson was seen entering Trump Tower.  Stephenson, who was accompanied by Robert Quinn, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, would not answer questions from reporters.  AT&T said later on Thursday that the company’s $85.4 billion deal for Time Warner was not discussed.

          Leave a comment »

          Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation

            « Previous Entries  






            © 2009-2017 Constantine Cannon LLP. Attorney Advertising. Disclaimer. Privacy Policy.