The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
N.C.A.A. Appeals Latest Antitrust Ruling. The N.C.A.A. said on Saturday that it was appealing a Federal District Court’s decision this month that barring athletes from being paid beyond a scholarship and related costs violated antitrust law. “We believe, and the Supreme Court has recognized, that N.C.A.A. member schools and conferences are best positioned to strengthen and revise their rules to better support student-athletes, rather than forcing these issues into continuous litigation,” Donald Remy, the N.C.A.A.’s chief legal officer, said in a statement. The ruling this month by Judge Claudia Wilken in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California was actually far more favorable to the N.C.A.A. than the plaintiffs, a class of Division I men’s and women’s basketball players and football players, had hoped.
EU antitrust regulators offer online whistleblowing on cartels. Whistleblowers will be able to report suspected price-fixing online instead of showing up at the offices of the European Union’s antitrust regulators in an effort to make it easier for companies to come forward. The European Commission’s leniency program, which rewards companies reporting either a cartel or providing evidence with reduced fines, has been a key tool in fighting cartels and other anti-competitive practices. The current regime allows companies to provide evidence both in writing and orally at the Commission’s premises.
Google fined $1.7 billion for search ad blocks in third EU sanction. Alphabet Inc. unit Google was fined 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) on Wednesday, its third large European Union antitrust penalty in two years marking the company’s decade-long regulatory battle in Europe. The EU antitrust chief, however, gave a cautious welcome to Google’s measures to boost competition and give Android users a choice of browsers and search apps, suggesting the company’s regulatory woes may be coming to an end. The European Commission, which said the fine amounted to 1.29 percent of Google’s turnover in 2018, said that the case focused on the company’s practices in search advertising brokering from 2006 to 2016.