The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Uber customer claims company won price-fixing suit because arbitrator was scared. An Uber customer on Friday asked a Manhattan federal judge to overturn an arbitration win for the company in a price-fixing case, arguing that the arbitrator only ruled in Uber’s favor because he was scared. Spencer Meyer initiated the high-profile 2015 antitrust lawsuit alleging that Uber Technologies Inc. engaged in an illegal conspiracy with its drivers to coordinate high “surge pricing” fares during periods of heavy demand by agreeing to charge prices set by an algorithm in the Uber ride-hailing app. Uber takes a cut from drivers’ earnings, and ride-hailing trips in North America make up the bulk of the company’s revenue. The lawsuit sought a nationwide ban against surge pricing.
US Seeking Industry Cooperation on Future Medical Supplies. U.S. officials are invoking a rarely used provision of American law that would shield companies from antitrust regulations to help the country from again running out of medical supplies in a pandemic. The government began formal discussions Thursday with private industry officials and representatives on a cooperative five-year agreement to ensure future supplies of protective materials, medical equipment, medicine and vaccines. The agreement would involve a provision of the Defense Production Act that has been used only twice before to enable competitive businesses and the government to discuss issues of price and supply without running afoul of antitrust regulations, said Joel Doolin, a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Four Democratic U.S. senators warn against Uber buying Grubhub. Four Democratic lawmakers, led by Senator Amy Klobuchar, wrote to antitrust enforcers on Wednesday to warn that plans by Uber Technologies Inc., owner of Uber Eats, to buy rival online food delivery company Grubhub Inc. would “raise serious competition issues” in many cities. In their letter, the lawmakers said the deal would give Uber and Grubhub 48 percent of the U.S. market, while Doordash would have 42 percent. A merged Uber Eats and Grubhub would have 79 percent of the market in New York, 68 percent in Boston, 65 percent in Miami, 60 percent in Chicago and 51 percent in Atlanta.
Edited by Gary Malone