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. judge blocks Qualcomm effort to put antitrust ruling on hold. A U.S. judge on Wednesday ruled against Qualcomm Inc.’s effort to block the implementation of a sweeping antitrust ruling against it as the mobile chip supplier pursues an appeal that could take more than a year to wind through the courts. Qualcomm has argued in court that the ruling could hamper critical negotiations with phone makers over 5G technology, forcing it to rework license agreements and even offer deals to rival chip suppliers, scrambling its business in a way that would be impossible to unwind if it wins on appeal. A Qualcomm spokeswoman told Reuters the company plans to immediately ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the lower court’s decision.
Exclusive: FIS to win EU approval for $35 billion Worldpay deal: sources. U.S. financial services provider Fidelity National Information Services Inc. is set to gain unconditional antitrust approval from the European Union for its $35 billion bid for payments company Worldpay, people familiar with the matter said. The deal, announced in March, is the biggest in the fast-growing electronics payments industry which has seen a wave of consolidation recently. FIS produces software for banks and asset managers as well as its financial services outsourcing business. Worldpay, spun off from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010, is a major player in card payments.
EU antitrust regulators seek to help victims calculate cartel harm. Victims of cartels may find it easier to seek damages from companies guilty of price fixing after European Union antitrust regulators released on Monday guidelines to help courts calculate the economic harm of anti-competitive practices. The European Commission views such claims as a tool to deter and punish cartels on top of regulatory fines as high as 10 percent of a company’s global turnover. However, divergent rules across the 28-country bloc mean the chances of a successful claim depend on where it is filed.
World Bank Unit Implicated in Latin America Graft Scandal. María Victoria Guarín was a key adviser on Colombia’s biggest-ever transportation project: a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) highway across mountainous terrain connecting the capital to busy Caribbean ports. As an investment officer for a World Bank unit, it was her job to help the government set the terms for competitive bidding by contractors. It turns out she was also married to a senior executive of a company that won part of the very contract she helped to oversee. That apparent conflict of interest has now dragged the bank into the edges of Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal, as revealed in a little-noticed report issued last year by Colombia’s anti-trust agency.