The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
FTC investigating Broadcom for antitrust practices. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether chipmaker Broadcom Ltd. engaged in anticompetitive tactics in negotiations with customers, the company said on Wednesday. The investigation comes as Broadcom pursues a hostile takeover of Qualcomm in a $103 billion deal. Since the FTC would likely review any merger for anticompetitive practices, the current probe could make regulatory approval more challenging. Broadcom was recently issued subpoenas that seek an extensive amount of information, according to the Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report the probe on Wednesday.
Lawsuit in U.S. Accuses Nine Banks of Rigging Canadian Rate Benchmark. Nine large banks, including six from Canada, have been accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to rig a Canadian rate benchmark to improve profits from derivatives trading. The complaint, filed by a Colorado pension fund in U.S. District Court in Manhattan late on Friday, accused Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia and the other banks of suppressing the Canadian Dealer Offered Rate (CDOR) from Aug. 9, 2007, to June 30, 2014. According to the Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado, the banks hoped to reduce interest they would owe investors on CDOR-based derivatives transactions in the United States, including swaps and Canadian dollar futures contracts, and generate potentially billions of dollars of improper profit.
EU antitrust regulators clear Qualcomm purchase of NXP. EU antitrust regulators have approved U.S. smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm’s planned $38 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors subject to a series of commitments Qualcomm has made. Qualcomm said the European Union clearance, along with approval earlier on Thursday from the Korea Fair Trade Commission, meant it now had eight of nine approvals, with just China remaining. It said it was optimistic that would come soon. Qualcomm, which supplies chips to Android smartphone makers and Apple, is set to become the leading supplier to the fast-growing automotive chip market following the deal, the largest-ever in the semiconductor industry.
Judge overseeing AT&T, Time Warner merger trial hears document dispute. AT&T, owner of DirecTV, is asking for documents from a long list of companies as part of preparation for a trial to determine if they will be allowed to buy movie and TV show maker Time Warner, their lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said in a pre-trial hearing on Friday. The Justice Department sued in November to stop AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. wireless company, from buying Time Warner for $85 billion because of concerns that it could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers as well as hamper the development of online video. Trial is set for March 19. Daniel Petrocelli, who represents AT&T and Time Warner, said that his team had been unable to get data requested from third parties, who had said they no longer had some of it. He asked the government, which did have the data, to return it so it could be subpoenaed.