The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
FTC considering deposing top Facebook executives in antitrust probe: WSJ. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering taking sworn testimony from Facebook Inc.’s top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg as a part of its probe into whether the company has engaged in unlawful monopolistic practices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Top Facebook officials are preparing for potential depositions and some are worried about the possibility, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Apple Scores Legal Victory Against $14.9 Billion E.U. Tax Demand. Apple won a major legal victory on Wednesday against European antitrust regulators as a European court overruled a 2016 decision that ordered the company to pay $14.9 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland. The decision, which can be appealed to the European Union’s top court, is a setback for the region’s efforts to clamp down on what the authorities there believe is anticompetitive behavior by the world’s largest technology companies. Google and Amazon have other court appeals pending as they seek to overturn decisions that they broke European competition laws.
Aspen offers to cut cancer drug prices, may avoid EU antitrust fine. Aspen has offered to cut prices by an average of 73% for six off-patent cancer drugs, EU antitrust regulators said on Tuesday, a move that could help the South African pharmaceutical company avoid a potentially hefty fine. The European Commission opened an investigation into Aspen in 2017 following concerns it may have charged excessive prices for drugs critical in treating patients suffering from certain types of life-threatening cancer, such as leukemia and multiple myeloma. The European Commission, the EU executive, said it would seek feedback from interested parties before deciding whether to accept the company’s offer.
Elanco Animal Health wins approval to buy Bayer unit. Elanco Animal Health has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Bayer AG’s (BAYGn.DE) animal health business on condition that it sell assets to treat three ailments, two in dogs and one in cattle, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday. The deal was valued at $7.6 billion when it was announced in August 2019. The FTC action was the final antitrust approval needed, and the proposed transaction is on track to close in early August, Elanco said in a statement. To win antitrust approval, the FTC said it required the companies to sell assets related to oral treatments to kill fleas on dogs, an inflammation of dogs’ inner ears and some pour-on cattle insecticides which control multiple insects.
Edited by Gary J. Malone