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. and AT&T discuss conditions for approval of Time Warner deal. AT&T Inc. and the U.S. Department of Justice are discussing conditions the No. 2 wireless carrier needs to meet in order to win government antitrust approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Inc., sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. The $85.4 billion deal, unveiled in October 2016, is opposed by an array of consumer groups and competitors on the grounds that it would give the wireless company too much power over the media it would carry on its own network. Wall Street largely believes the transaction will go through, but its success is not assured, and the issue has become a political battleground.
States Seek to Expand Lawsuit Against Generic Drugmakers. Connecticut’s attorney general and 45 of his colleagues are seeking to expand a federal antitrust lawsuit against generic drugmakers to include more manufacturers and medications, as well as senior executives at two companies. Led by Connecticut, the states sought a federal court’s permission Tuesday to widen their complaint, which alleges a number of illegal agreements among 18 manufacturers to fix prices and divvy up the market for specific generic drugs including treatments for high blood pressure, arthritis and asthma. Mylan N.V., one of the drugmakers named in the suit, said it has investigated the allegations thoroughly and “found no evidence of price fixing.”
FTC judge rules against 1-800 Contacts on antitrust charges. A Federal Trade Commission judge has ruled against the online seller 1-800 Contacts, which the agency accused of hammering out deals with rivals that made it harder for consumers to comparison shop, the agency said on Monday. The FTC accused the company of reaching agreements with 14 other online contact lens retailers which required the companies to refrain from advertising to consumers who had searched online for 1-800 Contacts. 1-800 Contacts, in exchange, agreed to not advertise to people who searched for the rivals’ names. The agreements hampered price-conscious consumers from finding rival contact lens sellers and checking their costs, the ruling said.
Entercom wins U.S. antitrust OK to buy CBS Radio with conditions. Entercom Communications Corp won U.S. antitrust approval to buy CBS Radio Inc. on condition that it divest 13 radio stations in Massachusetts and California, the Justice Department said on Wednesday. Entercom will divest an additional five stations as part of a deal to win approval from the Federal Communications Commission, said a source close to the proposed transaction who requested anonymity to protect business relationships. The proposed merger, announced in February, would allow CBS Corp. to combine its radio business with Entercom to create the second-largest U.S. radio broadcaster by revenue.