The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
EU Google decision delayed to next week, source says, as Trump visits. EU antitrust regulators have postponed to next week a finding against Google’s Android mobile operating system, a person familiar with the matter said, avoiding any clash with a visit to Brussels by U.S. President Donald Trump. The European Commission had scheduled a meeting of national competition agencies for Tuesday to brief them on the case, including what is expected to be a record-breaking fine against Alphabet unit Google. But the meeting has been rescheduled to July 17, the person said, without giving a reason for the change. Other sources said they expected a delay due to the presence of Trump, who is due to attend a NATO summit in Brussels this week.
Justice Department to Appeal Approval of AT&T Acquisition of Time Warner. The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it would appeal a federal judge’s approval of AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, raising the prospect barely a month after the deal closed that it could be undone. AT&T was sued by the Justice Department on antitrust grounds, saying that the deal would harm consumers, but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon last month approved the deal, allowing it to move forward following a lengthy trial. The merger, first announced in October 2016, was also opposed by President Donald Trump. Leon ruled that the tie-up between AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.
Japan watchdog: Apple may have breached antitrust rules with iPhone. Japanese regulators said on Wednesday Apple Inc may have breached antitrust rules by forcing mobile service providers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees, denying consumers a fair choice. The Fair Trade Commission said that the Japanese unit of Apple had forced NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Group Corp. to offer subsidies and sell iPhones at a discount. “Obliging carriers to offer subsidies (for iPhones) could have prevented the carriers from offering lower monthly charges and restricted competition,” the FTC said in a statement.
Siemens, Alstom deal faces full-scale EU antitrust probe: sources. Siemens and Alstom are set to face a full-scale EU antitrust investigation this week after declining to provide concessions to allay regulatory concerns about their plan to combine their rail operations, two people familiar with the matter said. German industrial group Siemens and French rival Alstom want to create a Franco-German rail champion to compete more effectively with bigger rival CRRC and Canada’s Bombardier Transportation. The companies had until July 6 to offer concessions to the European Commission but did not do so. Some firms prefer to wait for the EU antitrust enforcer to set out possible anti-competitive issues so they can tailor concessions to address them.