The Antitrust Week in Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Trump’s antitrust enforcer considers shifting up a gear. The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, which stops mergers it believes will push up prices, signaled Thursday he was willing to consider tougher enforcement, a move that could affect high profile big tech companies but also energy producers, drug makers and a big swath of the U.S. economy. Joseph Simons, who was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the FTC in October 2017 and began work in May, noted in a brief speech that during two previous stints at the FTC, most recently as head of the Bureau of Competition, there had been a tendency to take a relatively hands off approach to antitrust enforcement. “But now at the beginning of my third stint at the commission, things have shifted. The broad antitrust consensus that has existed within the antitrust community in a relatively stable form for about 25 years is being challenged,” he said at a conference organized by the FTC.
U.S. union urges states to look into T-Mobile purchase of Sprint. The Communication Workers of America labor union, which opposes T-Mobile’s proposed purchase of rival Sprint, has written to all 50 state attorneys general to highlight potential job losses from the proposed deal as well as antitrust concerns. Attorneys general in New York and California have reportedly begun probes into the $26 billion deal, which would see the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the United States merging.
UK Watchdog Says to Investigate CME Deal to Buy NEX. Britain’s antitrust watchdog is launching an investigation into whether U.S. exchange operator CME Group’s $5.5 billion (4.89 billion pounds) acquisition of NEX Group will lessen competition, the regulator said on Thursday. CME agreed to buy NEX in March, creating a cross-border powerhouse for investors trading in the multi-trillion dollar foreign exchange and government debt markets.