The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
F.T.C. Is Said to Consider an Injunction Against Facebook. The Federal Trade Commission is considering seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook to prevent the social network from integrating several of its messaging services, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The agency has discussed how the Silicon Valley company is stitching together the technical infrastructure underlying WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. The F.T.C. is weighing whether such an integration would make it harder to potentially break up Facebook, they said, especially if the agency determines that the company’s acquisitions of some of those apps reduced competition in social networking.
EU regulators to review rules defining companies’ market power. EU regulators will review two-decade old rules that determine if companies have the market power to throttle rivals or control prices to take into account globalization and digitalization, Europe’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said. Her announcement came amidst criticism by lawyers and academics that the European Union’s antitrust laws have failed to keep up with the times as regulators examine mergers and anti-competitive practices involving global online companies. How regulators define markets can help them measure a company’s pricing power in a merger or its power to shut out rivals in an antitrust case and the concessions they extract from these companies.
California Attorney General warns companies: ‘If you’re consolidating, we’re looking’. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose state is leading a fight to stop T-Mobile US from buying Sprint, warned on Tuesday his agency was concerned about corporate consolidation, particularly in cases where U.S. federal regulators do not take action. He said in an interview with Reuters that if states can successfully block the Sprint deal it would send a message that “antitrust enforcers will be back in the driver’s seat. It will make industries, not just telecoms, but industries, recognize that there are antitrust laws that can be enforced.”