The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Supreme Court Sides With American Express on Merchant Fees. American Express did not violate the antitrust laws by insisting in its contracts with merchants that they do nothing to encourage patrons to use other cards, the Supreme Court ruled last week. The decision has implications not only for what one brief called “an astronomical number of retail transactions” but also for other kinds of markets, notably ones on the internet, in which services link consumers and businesses. Such “two-sided platforms,” the court said, require special and seemingly more forgiving antitrust scrutiny.
U.S. rate-rigging payouts top $500 million as final banks settle. Investors have reached $96 million in settlements with the final five defendants in private U.S. litigation accusing banks of rigging a key interest rate benchmark in the global derivatives market, boosting the total payout to more than $500 million. BNP Paribas SA and Morgan Stanley will each pay $33.5 million, Nomura Holdings Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. will each pay $8.75 million, and brokerage ICAP Capital Markets LLC will pay $11.5 million, according to filings in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Upon receiving court approval, the settlements would increase the total recovered from 14 banks plus ICAP to $504.5 million.
Disney’s Bid for Fox Clears US Antitrust Hurdle. The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday won U.S. antitrust approval for its $71.3 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox’s entertainment assets. Disney must first sell its 22 regional sports networks, the Department of Justice said. The company has 90 days to sell the networks, with an option to extend for another 90 days.
Visa, Mastercard close to settle issues over card-swipe fees – WSJ. Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. are close to settling a long-running antitrust lawsuit with merchants over the fees they pay while they accept card payments, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Under the settlement, Visa, Mastercard and a number of banks that issue debit and credit cards including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. would pay the merchants around $6.5 billion, the report said on.wsj.com/2Kx4Wby, citing some of the people. It is not clear how the payment would be split up among the card networks and the issuing banks, according to the report