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 Music and Labels Investigated in 2 States. The attorneys general of New York and Connecticut have been investigating Apple’s negotiations with music companies for possible antitrust violations. The attorneys general wanted to know whether Apple pressured the music labels — or whether the labels conspired with Apple and one another — to withdraw support for popular “freemium” services offered by companies like Spotify in favor of Apple’s paid music subscriptions.
Amazon’s E-Books Business Investigated by European Antitrust Regulators. European Union antitrust regulators are investigating whether Amazon used its dominant position in the region’s e-books market to favor its own products over rivals. The European Commission is evaluating the legality of clauses that Amazon used with European publishers, which required them to inform the e-commerce giant when they offered more favorable terms for books to other digital retailers.
U.S. Antitrust Reviews of Mergers Get Longer. While mergers and acquisitions have accelerated sharply since the financial crisis faded, the U.S. government has slowed its pace of reviewing proposed deals. Deal reviews conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission this year have averaged more than 10 months, an increase from an average of seven months in recent years.
Gazprom has until mid-Sept to reply to EU antitrust charges. Russian energy company Gazprom has been given until mid-September to respond to European Union antitrust charges of over-charging for gas in eastern and central Europe, and blocking competitors from entering the market. Although the European Commission gave Gazprom 12 weeks to reply when it revealed the charges on April 22, companies typically ask for more time to marshal their legal and economic arguments when faced with complex issues.