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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  February 12, 2018

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

EU regulators to examine Apple buy of UK music discovery app Shazam.  EU antitrust regulators will examine iPhone maker Apple’s acquisition of British music discovery app Shazam following a request from seven European countries.  Apple has said that Shazam, an app that lets users identify songs by pointing a smart phone at the audio source, would be a natural fit with its Apple Music streaming service.  The EU antitrust enforcer said that based on preliminary data provided by seven countries, the deal may have a significant adverse effect on competition in Europe.

India imposes $21.1M fine on Google for antitrust practices.  Google is in trouble again, this time in India as the country’s antitrust watchdog accused the company of abusing its market dominance.  The search giant faces a fine of nearly 1.36 billion rupees (over $21.1 million) after the Competition Commission of India found it guilty of “search bias” in terms of online web search, which “causes harm” to its competitors and users, according to a statement published Thursday.  “Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services,” the CCI said in its statement.

Broadcom Raises Its Qualcomm Offer to $121 Billion.  Broadcom raised its takeover bid for the rival chip maker Qualcomm to about $121 billion, piling pressure on Qualcomm to agree to what would be the technology industry’s biggest-ever takeover and one that could affect the future of smartphones.  In offering $82 a share, up from about $70 previously, Broadcom raised the stakes a month before Qualcomm’s annual shareholder meeting, at which it hopes to unseat the entire board.  Broadcom’s move would create a tech giant whose products would be used in nearly all of the world’s smartphones.  Whether a deal goes ahead, however, remains an open question:  Qualcomm’s leadership fiercely opposes it, while analysts have said that even if shareholders approved the deal, it could be rejected on antitrust grounds.

Linde expects bigger antitrust hurdle for Praxair merger.  German industrial gases maker Linde said on Tuesday it expected it would have to make more divestments than initially planned to win antitrust approval for its $84 billion merger with Praxair.  But Linde said it would not have to sell businesses with revenues and earnings that exceeded the thresholds agreed with Praxair in their deal, which aims to create a global leader in industrial gases.  If regulators demanded the disposal of businesses with more than $3.7 billion in sales or $1.1 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, either party could withdraw without penalty.

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues,

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