The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Police body camera maker Axon sues U.S. FTC over antitrust litigation. Axon Enterprise Inc. is suing the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in a bid to have antitrust proceedings over an acquisition heard in a federal court and not in an internal FTC process, claiming that the FTC’s ability to both prosecute and judge cases deprives companies of their constitutional rights. Axon, the manufacturer of Taser stun guns and body camera systems for police departments, said in its complaint that it has been cooperating with an FTC probe of its acquisition of Vievu for more than 18 months. Vievu was a smaller player in the market for body cameras and online storage and management of the footage they generate. In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, Axon denied that the Vievu deal was anticompetitive and said it “is eager to prove its case in any federal court in this country.
Illumina abandons $1.2 billion deal to buy rival Pacific Biosciences. Illumina Inc. on Thursday agreed to terminate the $1.2 billion deal to buy smaller rival Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. (PACB.O), weeks after the U.S. competition watchdog filed a complaint to block the purchase. Gene sequencing company Illumina would pay Pacific Biosciences $98 million for the terminated deal, which was announced in 2018 and had attracted scrutiny from antitrust authorities in the United States and UK, both the companies said in a joint statement. Illumina is a major player in the nascent gene sequencing space, which involves analyzing the genome, and can among other uses, identify inherited disorders and markers of disease progression. In its complaint last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission raised concerns that Illumina wanted the deal in order to prevent Pacific Biosciences from developing into a competitor in the market for next-generation DNA sequencing.