The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Generic drugmakers win EU okay to cooperate in coronavirus fight. Generic drugmakers will be allowed to cooperate to supply hospital medicines for COVID-19 patients without fear of breaching the bloc’s competition rules, EU antitrust regulators said on Wednesday. The step is the latest loosening of the bloc’s strict antitrust rules to help tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic. The European Commission, the EU executive, has allowed EU governments to hand out subsidised loans, grants and defer tax payments to thousands of companies. Regulators said waiving antitrust rules for generic drugmakers, which produce the largest part of critical hospital medicines, will help to avoid shortages.
Judge Rejects Government’s Bid to Block Airline-Data Merger. A federal judge has rejected a government attempt to block Sabre Corp. from buying Farelogix Inc. in a $360 million deal combining two companies that provide information about airline tickets to travel agents. U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Stark in Delaware said in a ruling late Tuesday that the Justice Department had failed during an eight-day trial to prove that the deal would substantially reduce competition. The Justice Department sued to block the deal last August. It accused Sabre of buying Farelogix to eliminate a competitor who had more modern technology, and said a merger would lead to higher prices and less innovation.
EU antitrust regulators raise more questions about Facebook’s online marketplace. EU antitrust regulators want to know if Facebook’s online marketplace benefits unfairly from its treasure trove of data, according to a questionnaire seen by Reuters, a sign that they are building up a case against the U.S. social media giant. The EU document sent to industry players and other parties is a follow-up to a questionnaire that the European Commission sent to the same parties last August focusing on Facebook’s Marketplace. Launched in 2016, Facebook Marketplace is used by 800 million Facebook users in 70 countries to buy and sell items. Classified ads competitors have complained to the Commission that Facebook uses its market power to give it an unfair competitive advantage, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
Johnson & Johnson abandons deal for Takeda’s TachoSil surgical patch. Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it abandoned plans to buy Takeda Pharmaceutical’s surgical patch product TachoSil, citing regulatory issues. Takeda, Japan’s biggest drugmaker, announced the sale of TachoSil, a surgical patch to control bleeding, to Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Ethicon for $400 million last May. “Ethicon and Takeda have mutually decided to terminate the TachoSil transaction, agreeing that it was the right decision given the regulators’ concerns,” a representative for Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Joseph Simons, said earlier on Friday there were potential regulatory issues about the deal because Johnson & Johnson sells Evarrest, the only other U.S.-approved fibrin sealant patch designed to stop bleeding during surgery.
Edited by Gary Malone