The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
5 Big Banks Expected to Plead Guilty to Felony Charges, but Punishments May Be Tempered. The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to announce that Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland will collectively pay several billion dollars and plead guilty to criminal antitrust violations for rigging the price of foreign currencies, according to sources. Reportedly, the Justice Department is also preparing to resolve accusations of foreign currency misconduct at UBS.
Sports broadcast antitrust case may proceed as class action. A federal judge ruled that television viewers may pursue a class-action lawsuit accusing Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Comcast Corp, DirecTV and other broadcasters of illegally restraining their ability to watch their favorite sports teams play. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said the viewers suffered from “a dearth of choice in the market for baseball and hockey broadcasting,” and that it made sense for them to pursue their claims as a group. The court also found, however, that damages could not be pursued on a classwide basis.
Sysco may face about $1 billion in costs if US Foods merger dies. Sysco Corp. will be left with a bill of around $1 billion if the Federal Trade Commission kills its $3.5 billion merger with US Foods, regulatory filings show, underscoring the perils of doing deals that have a good chance of being blocked by antitrust regulators. According to a Reuters analysis of Sysco’s filings, the mammoth U.S. food distributor has spent more than $400 million so far on a combination of integration planning, financing charges and on defending the transaction in court.
EU Regulators to Decide on GE, Alstom Deal by August 21. European Union antitrust regulators have resumed their investigation into General Electric’s 12.4-billion-euro bid for Alstom’s energy unit after receiving requested data from the U.S. conglomerate. According to the European Commission, it will decide by Aug. 21, 2015, whether to clear the deal, General Electric’s biggest acquisition.