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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  May 18, 2020

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

Facebook is quietly helping to set up a new pro-tech advocacy group to battle Washington.  Facebook is working behind the scenes to help launch a new political advocacy group that would combat U.S. lawmakers and regulators trying to rein in the tech industry, escalating Silicon Valley’s war with Washington at a moment when government officials are threatening to break up large companies. The organization is called American Edge, and it aims through a barrage of advertising and other political spending to convince policymakers that Silicon Valley is essential to the U.S. economy and the future of free speech, according to three people familiar with the matter as well as documents reviewed by The Washington Post.

A Drug Company Wagers the U.S. Won’t Dare Charge It With Crimes.  In the coming days, the Justice Department will make an important decision: whether to file criminal charges against one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies for allegedly colluding with rivals to inflate the prices of widely used drugs. The company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, is betting that in the middle of a deadly pandemic, the Trump administration won’t dare to come down hard on the largest supplier of generic drugs in the United States. It is a high-stakes gamble that could affect millions of Americans who rely on Teva’s dozens of inexpensive generic drugs, as well as its brand-name products like Copaxone, for multiple sclerosis, and Ajovy, for migraines. Teva officials say criminal charges could cripple the Israeli company and potentially leave it unable to sell drugs to federal programs like Medicare.

Senators Klobuchar, Blumenthal, Booker Push Justice Department for Competitive Concert Ticket Prices.  U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Thursday sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim, “urging the Department of Justice to ensure that a vibrant and competitive live performance marketplace will exist after the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a statement. Last August, Klobuchar and Blumenthal urged the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the state of competition in the ticketing marketplace given concerns that Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, company was ignoring a 2010 consent decree on their anti-competitive practices. The senators joined several members of Congress who in recent years have advocated for greater competition within the ticketing space.

EU regulators to decide on $50 billion Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot deal by June 17.  EU antitrust regulators will decide by June 17 whether to clear Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) and Peugeot maker PSA (PEUP.PA)’s $50 billion merger, according to a European Commission filing on Monday. The companies announced the deal to create the world’s fourth biggest carmaker in December, putting under one roof the Italian company’s brands such as Fiat, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Maserati and the French company’s Peugeot, Opel and DS. EU competition enforcers can approve the deal with or without conditions or open a full-scale investigation of about four months following the end of the preliminary review should they have deep concerns.

Edited by Gary Malone

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues,