The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
EU seeks feedback on new antitrust power to investigate companies. EU regulators are seeking feedback about a possible new power to investigate businesses and demand changes even when no competition rules have been broken, in a move aimed at stopping companies from abusing their dominance. The prospective power underlines a European Commission push for a speedier and a more effective antitrust capability. The new initiative would be similar to one introduced by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority three years ago which subsequently led to a shake-up of the UK audit market following an investigation. The Commission said the new power aims to address gaps in existing competition rules and to intervene against structural competition problems across markets in a timely way.
Congressman: No NCAA Antitrust Exemption in Athlete Pay Bill. Federal legislation setting guidelines for college athletes to pursue money-making opportunities could be proposed within a month, and the congressman planning to introduce it said there will be no blanket antitrust exemption for the NCAA. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, said Thursday it’s imperative for Congress to act in time to render moot the array of state laws that are being considered or already have passed and are slated to go into effect as soon as next year. Gonzalez’s comments came during a Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics webinar five weeks after the NCAA announced it would move forward with a plan to allow athletes to earn money for endorsements, personal appearances and social media content, among other things.
Charles Schwab gets U.S. DOJ approval for TD Ameritrade buy. Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) said on Thursday it has received antitrust approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for its purchase of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. Charles Schwab last November agreed to buy TD Ameritrade in an all-stock deal valued at $26 billion at that time. The merger could create a brokerage giant in a market that has been ravaged by price wars. The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of the year, and anticipate the integration to be completed between 18 and 36 months following the close.
Pilgrim’s Pride Chief Executive Is Accused of Price Fixing. The chief executive of one of the country’s largest chicken producers was indicted on a price-fixing charge on Wednesday along with three other current and former executives at companies that supply chicken to groceries and restaurants across the United States. The indictment, by a federal grand jury in United States District Court in Denver, alleges that senior executives at Pilgrim’s Pride, based in Colorado, and Claxton Poultry Farms in Georgia fixed prices and rigged bids from 2012 to 2017. The charges are the first in a still-open Justice Department investigation involving several other major chicken producers.
Edited by Gary Malone