The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
A Media Giant in the Balance: AT&T Antitrust Trial Kicks Off. AT&T squares off against the federal government today in a trial that could shape how you get — and how much you pay for — streaming TV and movies. AT&T says it needs to gobble up Time Warner if it’s to have a chance against the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google in the rapidly evolving world of video entertainment. The Justice Department’s antitrust lawyers say that if AT&T and Time Warner are allowed to combine, consumers will end up paying more to watch their favorite shows, whether on a TV screen, smartphone or tablet.
EU antitrust regulators to decide on Apple, Shazam deal by April 23. EU antitrust authorities will decide by April 23 whether to clear iPhone maker Apple’s buy of British music discovery app Shazam, the European Commission said on Thursday. Apple sought EU approval for the deal on Wednesday, according to a filing on the EU competition agency’s website. The move had been expected after seven European countries including France, Italy and Spain asked the Commission to take charge of the case.
Bayer faces U.S. antitrust hurdles for Monsanto merger: Bloomberg. Bayer AG’s plan to win antitrust approval to buy U.S. seeds supplier Monsanto Co. has not satisfied U.S. officials, who are worried the $62.5 billion merger could hurt competition, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The U.S. Department of Justice wants Bayer to divest more assets to satisfy its conditions, and does not think the German chemicals company’s current proposal is sufficient, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Monsanto spokeswoman Sara Miller declined to comment. A Bayer spokesman said the company would not comment on rumors, but added it remains in talks with regulators to help close the deal in the second quarter of the year.
Impax broke U.S. antitrust law by delaying generic drug, jury told. Impax Laboratories Inc. went to trial over allegations by major retailers and consumers that the company agreed to delay launching a generic version of acne medication Solodyn in exchange for millions of dollars from the manufacturer. The trial in Boston federal court is one of a handful to have taken place since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 said so-called “pay-for-delay” settlements resolving pharmaceutical patent lawsuits can violate antitrust laws. The settlements occur when a brand-name drugmaker pays a generic rival to delay releasing a cheaper version of its product in exchange for resolving court challenges to patents covering the treatment. A lawyer for Impax, in his opening statement, denied there was any such arrangement to delay Solodyn’s entry to the market.