The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Mark Zuckerberg Questioned Under Oath in F.T.C. Antitrust Inquiry. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, answered questions under oath on multiple days this week as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry into whether the company broke antitrust laws, the company said on Thursday. Interviews with major executives can be a sign that a case is moving forward or is in an advanced stage. While the F.T.C. has already interviewed some other senior Facebook executives under oath, others are scheduled to be interviewed after Mr. Zuckerberg, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The agency’s interviews with Facebook employees could stretch well into September, said the person, who would speak only anonymously because the investigation is private.
Martin Shkreli fails to end FTC, New York lawsuit over Daraprim price hikes. A federal judge on Tuesday rejected Martin Shkreli’s effort to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the imprisoned former pharmaceutical executive of trying to monopolize the lifesaving drug Daraprim, whose price he raised more than 4,000% in one day. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote denied requests by Shkreli and Vyera Pharmaceuticals, which he once ran, to dismiss all but one claim in a civil lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission, New York Attorney General Letitia James and six other states. The defendants were accused of scheming to block generic equivalents of Daraprim from entering the market, enabling them in 2015 to boost the drug’s cost overnight to $750 from $17.50. Daraprim treats a potentially fatal infection known as toxoplasmosis.
EU regulators okay with conditions Mastercard’s Scandinavian e-pay deal. EU antitrust regulators on Monday cleared Mastercard’s bid to buy part of Scandinavian payments group Nets after the companies agreed to sell a Nets technology to a rival to boost competition in the market. U.S. payments group Mastercard last year announced the proposed acquisition of three divisions of Nets, which cover corporate clearing, instant payments and e-billing, for about for about 2.85 billion euros ($3.4 billion). It offered concessions last month after the European Commission voiced concerns about the impact of the deal in account-to-account core infrastructure services, where payments are processed directly from one bank account to another without the need for a card.
Facebook pushes for data portability legislation ahead of FTC hearing. Facebook Inc. on Friday pushed for legislation that makes it easier for users to transfer photos and videos to a rival tech platform, in comments it sent to the Federal Trade Commission ahead of a hearing on the topic on Sept. 22. Data portability – considered a potential remedy for large technology companies whose control of social media material makes it harder for smaller rivals to get started – has become a key part of the antitrust debate in the United States and Europe. In April, Facebook allowed users in the United States and Canada to transfer photos and videos to Aphabet-owned Google Photos for the first time – a move that is likely to help the company respond to U.S. regulators and lawmakers, who are investigating its competitive practices and allegations it has stifled competition.
Edited by Gary J. Malone