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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  March 4, 2019

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

U.S. Justice Department will not appeal AT&T, Time Warner merger after court loss.  AT&T Inc, emerged victorious on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s drawn-out attempts to block its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner as the U.S. Justice Department said it would not fight an appeals court ruling approving the deal. The acquisition had been closely watched in political circles after coming under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump, who opposed it because he saw it helping Time Warner’s CNN unit, which he has accused of broadcasting “fake news.” The three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously in favor of the deal on Tuesday, saying that the government’s case that the merger would result in higher consumer prices was “unpersuasive.”

U.S. asks judge to give final approval to settlement with CVS to buy Aetna.  The U.S. Justice Department has formally asked a judge to approve its deal to allow CVS Health Corp. to merge with insurer Aetna. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia scolded the government and parties late last year for closing the $69 billion dollar merger before the consent order was approved by the court. In response, CVS offered to halt some integration of the two companies.

Maersk says U.S. shipping investigation closed, firm released from any obligations.  Denmark’s A.P. Moller Maersk said on Tuesday a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the practices of container shipping companies had closed and the group was released from any obligations. In 2017 the Justice Department ordered top executives from several container shipping lines including Maersk to testify in an antitrust investigation over practices by an industry that is the backbone of world trade.

U.S. approves Thales takeover of Gemalto with condition.  The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it was requiring Thales SA to divest its general purpose hardware security module (GP HSM) business in order for Thales to proceed with its proposed acquisition of Gemalto NV.  French defense electronics maker Thales and Netherlands-based chipmaker Gemalto are the world’s leading providers of GP HSMs, which generate keys and encrypts data, and are significant direct competitors in the United States, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation,

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