The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Visa discloses FTC probe on debit transactions. Visa Inc. on Thursday said the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has initiated an inquiry into whether the payments processor’s actions prohibited merchants from using other debit payment networks. Bloomberg Law reported on Wednesday the regulator was investigating whether Visa and rival Mastercard Inc. blocked retailers from routing card transactions over alternative networks such as Pulse, NYCE and Star. Visa in a regulatory filing said it received a letter from the FTC on Nov. 4, and the company is cooperating with the bureau.
Agencies’ Antitrust Suit Against Writers Guild Set for January Hearing. The antitrust suit filed by Hollywood’s major agencies against the Writers Guild of America has been set for a Jan. 17 hearing. U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte issued the calendar update this week on the litigation, filed on Sept. 27 by CAA, UTA and WME after the agencies consolidated their individual agency suits. The action accuses the WGA of abusing its collective bargaining authority by ordering its members to fire their agents and engaging in an unlawful “power grab.” The guild filed last month for a dismissal of the antitrust suit and sought a Dec. 6 hearing. The WGA asserted in that filing that an antitrust claim fails because the guilds’ conduct is “fully protected” by the labor exemption in federal antitrust law.
Goldman Sachs settles bond-rigging lawsuit. Goldman Sachs Group Inc agreed to pay $20 million to resolve claims by investors that it conspired to rig prices of bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The preliminary settlement filed on Thursday night in federal court in Manhattan requires a judge’s approval, and is the third in litigation by investors against 16 financial services companies. Deutsche Bank AG settled for $15 million and units of Tennessee’s First Horizon National Corp settled for $14.5 million in September. Both settlements won preliminary court approval in October.