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. House panel to review DOJ automaker antitrust probe. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee plans to hold hearings and seek documents into the Justice Department’s decision to open an antitrust investigation into four major automakers’ voluntary agreement with California to adopt compromise vehicle emissions requirements. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Representative David Cicilline, who chairs a subcommittee on antitrust issues, said in a joint statement late on Monday the probe of Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co., BMW AG, and Volkswagen AG “is only the latest in a profoundly troubling pattern of abuse of power that has flourished under the Trump presidency.” The Justice Department declined to comment.
Deutsche Bank is first to settle bond-rigging lawsuit, amid federal probe. Deutsche Bank AG will pay $15 million to resolve claims it conspired to rig prices of bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, becoming the first of 16 financial services companies to settle litigation by investors. The German bank did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which also requires that it bolster its antitrust compliance procedures and cooperate with the investors. Court approval is required. The settlement was disclosed in filings late Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.
Antitrust Regulators Pounce on Big Tech as Probes Widen. The crackdown on Big Tech is intensifying as flanks of the government across the U.S. try to rein in the industry’s immense power. Nearly every state — California and Alabama being the notable exceptions — joined in a bipartisan investigation of Google, just days after a smaller group announced a probe into Facebook. State attorneys general are looking how these two companies capitalized on the popularity of their free services to dominate the lucrative online ad market. Those probes supplement investigations by the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the House Judiciary Committee.
Apple’s app store eyed in U.S. Congress antitrust probe. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Friday requested information from Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook as part of an investigation of competition in digital markets. The lawmakers in a letter sought information related to Apple’s App Store, which is the only way that users of devices such as the iPhone can put third-party software on their phones. Apple takes a cut of the sales that developers make when tapping its payment systems on its App Store.