The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Apple and Qualcomm’s Global Fight Heads to Court in San Diego. Nasty legal battles are nothing new in the tech industry. But Apple’s conflict with the wireless chip maker Qualcomm, headed for a crucial court showdown this coming week, has a special intensity. The two companies, once partners of a sort, now disagree about nearly everything — including which one deserves the most credit for shaping the evolution of smartphones. Their formidable legal teams are at war on three continents, in a struggle that could affect the division of billions of dollars of smartphone profits and, perhaps, even how much consumers pay for their phones.
EU fines GE $58 million over misleading data in Danish deal. EU antitrust regulators fined U.S. conglomerate General Electric 52 million euros ($58.4 million) for providing misleading information in its takeover of Danish rotor blade maker LM Wind two years ago. GE told the European Commission that it was not developing any other turbine apart from its 6 megawatt turbine when it sought EU approval to buy LM Wind. The EU found that this was not true after a third party provided details.
Qualcomm loses court bid against EU antitrust regulators’ demand for data. U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm on Tuesday lost a court challenge against a demand for it to provide EU regulators with data in a long-running antitrust case. The world’s no. 1 chipmaker had already provided the information after being ordered to pay a daily fine for withholding it, but the Luxembourg-based General Court’s ruling is expected to strengthen the Commission’s hand in future similar cases. Qualcomm has been under the EU spotlight since 2015, when it was accused of predatory pricing between 2009 and 2011 aimed at forcing out British phone software maker Icera, subsequently bought by Nvidia Corp.
U.S. FTC settles with Tronox over purchase of Cristal titanium dioxide business. Tronox Ltd. has reached a settlement with U.S. antitrust enforcers that will allow it to move forward with its purchase of much of Cristal’s titanium dioxide business, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday. The company valued the deal at $1.673 billion when it was announced in February 2017. Under the settlement, Tronox has agreed to sell facilities in Ashtabula, Ohio, which make titanium dioxide. It had previously valued the assets at $700 million, and a British company, INEOS Enterprises AG, agreed to buy the plants.