The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. appeals court hears arguments on stopping AT&T purchase of Time-Warner. A three-judge appeals court panel on Thursday questioned the U.S. Justice Department’s challenge to a lower court’s approval of AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. “Where is the clear error?” U.S. Judge Judith Rogers asked Justice Department attorney Mike Murray, who called the lower court’s approval of the deal “myopic.” “You have to show that there’s a harm to competition,” Judge David Sentelle said at another point. “Remember where the burdens are,” he added later.
Swimmers Hit World Body FINA With California Antitrust Case. Three Olympic and world champion swimmers have filed an antitrust suit in California challenging governing body FINA’s control of organizing competitions. The legal challenge is the latest faced by Olympic bodies from athletes seeking greater prize money and more say in running their sport. It was filed Friday on behalf of Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu and the United States’ Tom Shields and Michael Andrew and follows Switzerland-based FINA shutting down an independent meet in Italy with threats to ban competitors.
U.S. judge concerned over government nod for CVS-Aetna deal. A federal judge who has been asked to sign off on the U.S. government’s decision to approve CVS Health Corp.’s acquisition of insurer Aetna Inc. said Tuesday he was “less convinced” than the government that the companies had struck a deal that ensured the merger was legal under antitrust law. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had complained last week in a hearing that the two sides had treated him as a “rubber stamp” for the agreement. CVS closed the $69 billion transaction last week and began the integration process.
Mastercard, Visa Propose Cutting Fees for European Merchants. European Union regulators said Tuesday Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. have agreed to lower fees assessed to merchants when they accept debit or credit cards issued outside the region, a move that comes after merchants alleged that networks and banks colluded to inflate those fees. The European Commission said both companies made offers to lower these fees—known as interregional interchange fees—by a minimum of 40%.