The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
StarKist to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing and Face $100 Million Fine. StarKist agreed to plead guilty on Thursday to one felony charge of price fixing for its role in a broad conspiracy to rig the price of canned and ready-to-eat tuna, the Justice Department said. The company faces a fine of up to $100 million for forcing shoppers to pay inflated prices from at least November 2011 through December 2013, the Justice Department said. The amount is to be determined in a hearing by the United States District Court in San Francisco, which must also approve the terms of StarKist’s plea agreement.
Disney offers EU antitrust concessions over $71.3 billion Fox deal. Walt Disney has offered concessions in an attempt to allay EU antitrust concerns over its $71.3 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets, the European Commission said. The Commission extended its deadline for reviewing the deal to Nov. 6 from Oct. 19. It is now expected to seek feedback from customers and rivals before deciding whether to accept the concessions or demand more.
Google to Charge Smartphone Makers for Google Play in Europe. Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Tuesday revamped how it distributes its mobile apps in the European Union, introducing a licensing fee for device makers to access its app marketplace in a response to regulators’ findings that it had broken antitrust law. The new arrangement opens doors for Google’s web search and browser rivals such as Microsoft Corp. but essentially leaves the U.S. tech giant’s lucrative mobile business intact, analysts said. The European Commission in July fined Google a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) for using the market dominance of its mobile software to hinder rivals in areas such as internet search.
1st Circuit: No class certification if you can’t weed out uninjured class members. In its Oct. 15 opinion in In re Asacol, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clarified its position on an issue that continues to cause much consternation among the federal appellate courts: Can trial judges certify class actions in which not every class member has suffered an injury? The 1st Circuit panel – Judges Sandra Lynch, William Kayatta and David Barron – sided with the 3rd, 5th and District of Columbia Circuits to hold that the predominance requirement in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for class actions precludes class certification if more than a minimal number of prospective class members haven’t been injured.