The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
HSBC to pay $30 million to settle bond rigging lawsuit in U.S. HSBC Holdings Plc has agreed to pay $30 million to settle litigation by investors who accused 11 big banks of rigging the roughly $9 trillion government agency bond market from 2009 to 2015. The settlement with the British bank was made public late Wednesday night in the federal court in Manhattan, and requires approval by U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos. HSBC is the third bank to settle, after Deutsche Bank AG and Bank of America Corp. agreed in August 2017 to pay a respective $48.5 million and $17 million and cooperate with the plaintiffs.
U.S. government says shutdown may slow resolution of CVS/Aetna court process. The Justice Department has said in a court filing that a partial government shutdown could delay its response to comments on pharmacy chain CVS Health Corp.’s purchase of health insurer Aetna, a necessary step in a court giving final approval to the deal. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has been reviewing a consent decree reached by the government and the companies in October to allow their $69 billion merger. The deal has closed, although Judge Leon has required that some aspects of integration be halted during the review process.
Trump’s Attorney General Nominee to Recuse From AT&T-Time Warner Appeal. William Barr, nominated by President Donald Trump to become U.S. attorney general, plans to recuse himself from a major antitrust case, according to people who spoke with him on Thursday, as he navigates possible conflicts of interest presented by about $37 million in assets he amassed as a private-sector lawyer. Barr is scheduled to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week for two days of confirmation hearings. Ahead of that, he has submitted financial disclosure forms, as required. Some of the forms, seen by Reuters, describe sizable investments in stocks, bonds and real estate.
Apple demanded $1 billion from Qualcomm for chance to win iPhone. Apple Inc asked for $1 billion as an “incentive payment” from Qualcomm Inc. in order for Qualcomm to become the supplier of modem chips for Apple’s iPhone, Qualcomm’s chief executive testified on Friday at a trial with U.S. antitrust regulators. The $1 billion payment as part of a 2011 deal between Apple and Qualcomm was meant to ease the technical costs of swapping out the iPhone’s then-current chip with Qualcomm’s.