The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia accuses DOJ with ‘collaborating’ with Dish in HBO dispute. AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia has accused the U.S. Department of Justice of “collaborating” with Dish Network Corp. in a high profile dispute over carrying HBO and Cinemax. For the first time in its 40-year history, Warner Media’s HBO, known for its award winning TV series “Game of Thrones” and “The Sopranos,” went dark on Dish’s satellite television service on Thursday after a disagreement over a new distribution deal. The dispute could be a public relations blow to AT&T, which is heading back into court in December when oral arguments begin in the DOJ’s appeal of the antitrust decision approving the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner.
London forex traders found not guilty in U.S. rigging case. Three former London-based currency traders were found not guilty on Friday of U.S. charges that they schemed to rig benchmark exchange rates, the latest verdict to emerge from a U.S. probe into the multitrillion-dollar foreign exchange market. Chris Ashton, Rohan Ramchandani and Richard Usher, who worked at Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., respectively, were acquitted of all charges by a jury in Manhattan federal court after a trial of conspiring to violate the Sherman Act, a federal antitrust law.
EU Antitrust Regulator Investigates Steel Joint Venture Deal. The European Union’s anti-trust watchdog is launching a probe into a planned joint venture by German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp and India’s Tata Steel, saying it might reduce competition. The two companies said in June they had signed a deal to merge their European steel operations into a new Netherlands-based firm called Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel B.V. in which they would both hold a 50 percent stake. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the investigation Tuesday.
UK competition watchdog clears CME Group’s buy of NEX Group. Britain’s competition watchdog cleared CME Group Inc.’s 3.9 billion pounds ($4.96 billion) deal to buy Michael Spencer’s NEX Group Plc, paving the way for a cross-border trading powerhouse. The Competition and Markets Authority said on Wednesday that it would not refer the deal for further investigation. The move comes at a time when large exchange mergers, such as between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse, have hit antitrust hurdles in recent years.