The Antitrust Week In Review
United Technologies, Raytheon offer EU concessions over $120 billion merger deal. United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon Co. (RTN.N) have offered concessions to address EU antitrust concerns about their plan to create a $120 billion U.S. aerospace and defense giant, a filing on the European Commission website showed on Monday. The companies submitted their concessions on Friday. The European Commission, which did not provide details in line with its policy, extended its deadline for a decision to March 13 from Feb. 28. In January, UTC agreed to divest a military-focused GPS unit from its subsidiary Collins while Raytheon agreed to sell an airborne tactical radios unit to British defense company BAE Systems in a bid to win regulatory clearance.
EU Launches Antitrust Probe Into Italy Loan to Alitalia. The European Union’s antitrust watchdog said Friday that it has launched an investigation into a loan of 400 million euros ($440 million) from the Italian government to national airline Alitalia to establish whether the money is illegal state aid. The watchdog, the European Commission, said in a statement that the aim is to assess if the “loan granted to Alitalia constitutes state aid and whether it complies with the rules on state aid to companies in difficulty.” Alitalia has been in financial trouble for several years. The commission, which polices antitrust and state aid issues, said that Italy had announced the loan to Alitalia late last year and that the money was meant “to facilitate the streamlining of the company in order to attempt to sell its assets.”
McDonald’s says docs drafted by in-house lawyers are off limits in antitrust row. McDonald’s Corp. has told a federal judge in Illinois that documents prepared by its in-house counsel that a former franchise worker is seeking to make her case that the company’s no-poach agreements with franchisees violate antitrust law are protected by attorney-client privilege. McDonald’s lawyers wrote in a filing in Chicago federal court on Friday that the documents, including memos the company’s general counsel sent to human resources employees regarding compliance with wage laws and a report involving a congressional inquiry into McDonald’s pay practices, contained legal advice and the plaintiff in the proposed class action cannot compel them in discovery.