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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  September 30, 2019

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

U.S. Justice Department to open Facebook antitrust investigation: source.  The U.S. Justice Department will open an antitrust investigation of Facebook Inc., a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, marking the fourth recent antitrust probe of the social media company.  Facebook also faces probes by the Federal Trade Commission, a group of state attorneys general led by New York and the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Facebook has faced extra scrutiny tied to how it allowed its platforms to be used during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

FTC requests AbbVie, Allergan for more information on $63 billion deal.  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has requested for more information from AbbVie Inc and botox maker Allergan Plc on their $63 billion deal, the companies said on Friday. AbbVie and Allergan said they still expect the deal to close in early 2020, and were cooperating with the antitrust regulator. The scrutiny into the deal, which combines two of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, follows a request by a dozen advocacy groups and unions to the FTC to block the purchase. In a letter seen by Reuters, the groups noted that the deal would create the fourth largest pharmaceutical company at a time when rising drug prices have become a hot political issue.

GateHouse-Gannett Newspaper Deal Clears US Antitrust Review.  GateHouse and Gannett say their newspaper deal has cleared U.S. antitrust review. It still needs approval from European regulators and stockholders of both companies. The two say they expect the deal to close this year. USA Today owner Gannett and GateHouse argue that combining will help them accelerate the path to digital for their newspapers even as they pay down debt from the deal. The combination would create the largest U.S. newspaper company in a contracting industry, with more than 260 daily papers in the U.S. and more than 300 weeklies.

HSBC gets partial satisfaction in court fight against 33.6 mln euro EU Euribor cartel fine.  HSBC on Tuesday got partial satisfaction in its fight against a 33.6 million euro ($36.9 million) fine levied by EU antitrust regulators three years ago for rigging the Euribor financial benchmark together with six other banks. The General Court, Europe’s second highest, agreed with the EU’s competition watchdog that HSBC infringed the law but annulled the fine over insufficient reasoning. HSBC, Credit Agricole and JPMorgan were penalized 485 million euros by the European Commission in 2016. All three had denied wrongdoing and challenged the decision. HSBC’s fine was the smallest as it took part in the cartel for just a month.

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues,

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