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 antitrust regulators reinforce case against Teva pay-for-delay deals. EU antitrust enforcers, boosted by recent court victories, on Monday reinforced their case against Israeli drugmaker Teva over its deal with rival Cephalon to delay selling a generic version of its sleep disorder drug modafinil. Three years ago, the European Commission said the company’s cash payments deal with Cephalon as part of a settlement to end a lawsuit over alleged infringement of Cephalon’s patents on the blockbuster drug may have jacked up the price of modafinil. The EU competition enforcer has now sent a supplementary charge sheet to Teva, clarifying why it considered that the objective of the pay-for-delay deal was to restrict competition.
Republican lawmakers ask Agriculture Department to ease regs on meat production. Six Republicans in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee urged the U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday to ease regulations on meat processors that they said make it harder for smaller companies to compete. The price paid to ranchers for cattle dropped and meat prices rose earlier this spring when operations at some slaughterhouses were slowed by workers falling ill with the new coronavirus, while others closed. President Donald Trump responded in May by insisting that the Justice Department open an antitrust probe. The six lawmakers, led by the top Republican on the committee, Jim Jordan, urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to “revisit burdensome regulations that create barriers to entry and lessen competition in the nation’s meat processing industry.”
EU seeks tougher checks on foreign buying of European firms. The Europe Union will seek tougher checks on foreign state-owned or state-backed companies buying European firms to prevent the use of unfair subsidies, the EU antitrust chief said on Tuesday, the latest move to increase protection. The bloc’s protectionist trend has accelerated as it strives to create European industrial champions and because of concerns wealthy foreigners might swoop on companies whose value has been reduced by the coronavirus crisis. Margrethe Vestager said in an interview foreign companies use subsidies without the European Union’s knowledge or checks.
Fiat, PSA face EU antitrust probe over $50 billion merger: sources. Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA face a lengthy EU antitrust investigation after declining to offer concessions to allay EU antitrust concerns about their planned $50 billion merger, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. Fiat and PSA, which are seeking to create the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker, were told last week that their combined high market share in small vans was a worry for competition enforcers, other people familiar with the matter had told Reuters. The companies had until Wednesday to put in concessions but did not do so, the sources said. That will automatically trigger a four-month-long investigation by the European Commission when it completes its preliminary review on June 17.
Edited by Gary Malone