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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  May 4, 2020

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

Warren, Ocasio-Cortez want to stop many company mergers during coronavirus pandemic.  Two of the most popular Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said on Tuesday they would introduce legislation to stop many mergers while the United States struggles economically during the coronavirus pandemic. Warren and Ocasio-Cortez said they would formally introduce the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act to put a moratorium on all mergers that would normally be reported to the Federal Trade Commission, and any involving companies with more than $100 million in revenue or private equity companies, among others. Warren will also seek to include the moratorium in any future relief bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has said the lower chamber intends to return soon to complete a new coronavirus response bill that Democrats have vowed to use as a vehicle for funneling hundreds of billions of dollars in federal assistance to state and local governments.

Facebook could address some U.S. antitrust concerns with new photo transfer tool.  Facebook Inc will allow users in the United States and Canada to transfer photos and videos to a rival tech platform for the first time – a step that could assuage antitrust concerns by giving users an option to easily leave the company’s services, the social media network said on Thursday. The tool lets Facebook users transfer data stored on its servers directly to another photo storage service, in this case Google Photos – a feature known as data portability. U.S. and Canadian users will be able to access the tool through their Facebook accounts starting Thursday. The function has already been launched in several countries including in Europe and Latin America. It allows the social media company to give users more control over their data and respond to U.S. regulators and lawmakers who are investigating its competitive practices and allegations it has stifled competition.

Analysis: NCAA Moves Toward Athlete Compensation, but How?  The foundation is in place for the NCAA to drastically alter its definition of amateurism. By this time next year, college athletes may have the official OK to become paid sponsors, able to earn money for their names, images and likenesses without compromising their eligibility. This raises the question whether the NCAA is angling for an antitrust exemption.

Broadcom offers to scrap exclusivity deals to end EU antitrust probe.  U.S. chipmaker Broadcom has offered to scrap its exclusivity deals with TV and modem makers to end an EU antitrust investigation and stave off a possible hefty fine. Broadcom, which makes chips to power smartphones, computers and networking equipment and is a major supplier to Apple, found itself in EU competition enforcers’ crosshairs over its deals with six companies to buy chips exclusively or almost exclusively from it. That triggered an investigation in June last year and an order to stop such deals until the end of the probe on whether such practices were aimed at squeezing out rivals.

Edited by Gary Malone


Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues,