The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Should SCOTUS Review Nixed $7.2 Billion Credit-Card Antitrust Settlement? Depending on which side you believe, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the biggest antitrust class action settlement in history last June, the appeals court either: drastically misread U.S. Supreme Court precedent in a way that will make it much more difficult and expensive to resolve big cases requesting both money damages and an injunction; or squelched a novel strategy that served the interests of the defendants while cutting off the rights of unrepresented future plaintiffs. Thomas Goldstein and Eric Citron of Goldstein & Russell make a strong argument for the second option in their just-filed Supreme Court brief for objectors to the $7.2 billion settlement killed by the 2nd Circuit – a deal for cash and injunctive relief between the credit card companies Visa and MasterCard and merchants who accept the cards.
Food Industry May Follow the Brewers’ Merger Frenzy. As millennials became old enough to hang out in bars about 15 years ago, the likes of Budweiser and Miller started to taste flat. Fancier drinks and craft beers cut into the brewing giants’ market shares. A gusher of mergers followed, culminating in the $104 billion acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Kraft Heinz’s $143 billion bid for Unilever last week, although quickly aborted, is a sign that the attention of millennials and the potential for mergers have shifted to the food industry. In any such deals, antitrust regulators may force asset sales.
EU Regulators Set to Clear Dow, DuPont Deal: Sources. Dow Chemical and DuPont are set to win EU antitrust approval for their $130 billion merger, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, one of three mega deals in the agrochemicals industry. The deal, which still needs approval from U.S. and other regulators, has faced intense scrutiny from the European Commission. Of particular concern is combining the two companies’ agricultural businesses which sell seeds and crop protection chemicals, including insecticides and pesticides.
U.S. Judge Dismisses Most of Euribor-Rigging Lawsuit. A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed most of an investor lawsuit accusing several major banks of conspiring to manipulate the benchmark European Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor, and related derivatives. In a 100-page decision, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan said several claims in the proposed class action must fail because of a lack of evidence that the defendants conspired to restrain trade or because they involved foreign conduct.