The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Sutter Health to Pay $575 Million to Settle Antitrust Lawsuit. Sutter Health, the large hospital system in Northern California, said Friday that it had agreed to pay $575 million to settle claims of anti-competitive behavior brought by the California state attorney general as well as unions and employers. In addition to the settlement amount — which will go to compensate employers, unions and the state and federal governments — Sutter will also be prohibited from engaging in several practices that the state attorney general and others said the hospital system used to ensure its dominance. It will be barred from so-called “all or nothing” agreements, which the attorney general said required insurers to include all of Sutter’s medical facilities if they wanted to include some of the system’s hospitals. And it will be required to limit what it can charge patients for out-of-network services, which the state said would prevent people from facing surprise medical bills.
Big banks settle Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bond rigging litigation in U.S. Thirteen prominent banks and financial services companies agreed to pay $337 million to resolve claims by investors that they conspired to rig prices of bonds issued by mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a decade. The preliminary settlements filed in federal court in Manhattan require a judge’s approval, and would conclude private nationwide antitrust litigation brought against 16 defendants, with settlements totaling $386.5 million. Barclays, which underwrote the most Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds, will pay $87 million.
Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Cantor Fitzgerald, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, HSBC , JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Nomura , Societe Generale, Toronto-Dominion and UBS will separately pay a combined $250 million.
How a Top Antitrust Official Helped T-Mobile and Sprint Merge. As the $26 billion blockbuster merger between T-Mobile and Sprint teetered this summer, Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, labored to rescue it behind the scenes, according to text messages revealed last week in a lawsuit to block the deal. Mr. Delrahim connected company executives with the F.C.C. and members of Congress. And he gave executives insight into the thinking of Ajit Pai, the chairman of the F.C.C. who would also have to approve the merger. He is “open and willing” to discussions about the deal, Mr. Delrahim said in one text message in June, a month before regulators blessed the transaction.