The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. antitrust agencies pledge quick action for anti-COVID-19 efforts. The two U.S. federal antitrust enforcers said on Tuesday that they would move quickly to approve collaborations that businesses, including hospital systems, put together to address rapidly growing public health concerns raised by the coronavirus. The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission, both of which enforce U.S. antitrust law, said in a joint statement that they would respond to proposed collaborations within seven days. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has compelled governments to take unusual efforts to stop the disease, treat the thousands of people who have fallen ill and slow the rapidly growing economic damage.
UTC, Raytheon deal wins U.S. antitrust approval, with divestitures. The U.S. Justice Department has approved United Technologies Corporation’s planned merger with Raytheon Co., subject to conditions, the agency said on Thursday. UTC agreed in June to combine its aerospace business with U.S. contractor Raytheon and create a new company worth about $121 billion, in what would be the sector’s biggest ever merger. It won EU antitrust approval earlier in March. To win U.S. approval, the companies agreed to divest Raytheon’s military airborne radios business, including facilities in Indiana and Florida, and UTC’s military global positioning systems, including a facility in Connecticut.
Cargo shipping to keep EU antitrust exemption until 2024. Cargo shipping companies will be exempt from antitrust rules against anti-competitive agreements for a further four years until 2024 because this leads to lower prices and better consumer services, EU antitrust regulators said on Tuesday. First adopted in 2009 and extended for five years in 2014, the consortia block exemption regulation will be prolonged for four more years to April 2024, the European Commission said in a statement. It allows liner shipping operators with a combined market share below 30% to cooperate to provide joint liner shipping services, known as consortia, but does not allow price-fixing or market-sharing, both of which are hallmarks of cartels.
EU says Johnson & Johnson’s deal for Takeda patch may harm competition. EU antitrust regulators have opened a full investigation into Johnson & Johnson’s acquisition of Takeda Pharmaceutical’s surgical patch product TachoSil, concerned that the deal could lead to reduced choice and higher prices for customers. Takeda, Japan’s biggest drugmaker, announced the sale of TachoSil, a surgical patch for bleeding control, to U.S. giant Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Ethicon for $400 million last May. The European Commission said a preliminary investigation found cause for concern because TachoSil is the market leader in Europe. Johnson & Johnson is also a major maker of surgical patches globally although it does not sell such dual patches in Europe.