The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Exclusive: White House order pushes antitrust enforcement throughout U.S. economy. The White House is working on an antitrust executive order that aims to push government agencies to consider how their decisions will impact competition in an industry, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The order goes after corporate monopolies across a broad swath of industries ranging from banking to airlines, one of the sources said.
U.S. FTC sharpens weapons to tackle Big Tech by dropping ‘consumer welfare’ guidance. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission lowered the bar on when it decides to file antitrust lawsuits on Thursday by scrapping a 2015 statement that said it would be guided by the “promotion of consumer welfare” when looking at new investigations. In an open meeting conducted online, the commission voted 3-2 to withdraw the statement, with Democrats voting for the withdrawal and Republican commissioners against. “Withdrawing the 2015 statement is only the start of our efforts to clarify the meaning of Section 5 and apply it to today’s market,” Chair Lina Khan, a progressive, said at the meeting. Section 5 of the FTC Act says unfair methods of competition, which it does not describe in detail, are unlawful.
Judge Throws Out 2 Antitrust Cases Against Facebook. In a setback to regulators’ efforts to break up Facebook, a federal judge threw out antitrust lawsuits brought against the company by the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states. The judge held that the FTC had failed to sufficiently allege that Facebook holds a monopoly over social networking, saying prosecutors had failed to provide enough facts to back up that claim. And he said the states had waited too long to bring their case, which centers on deals made in 2012 and 2014. The judge said the F.T.C. could try again within 30 days with more detail, but he suggested that the agency faced steep challenges.
Tupy wins U.S. antitrust approval for Teksid deal, with conditions. Brazilian auto parts company Tupy agreed to scale back its acquisition of Italy’s Teksid to resolve U.S. antitrust concerns that the deal could lead to higher prices for heavy-duty vehicles, the Justice Department said on Thursday. Under the deal, which was announced in December 2019, Fiat Chrysler agreed to sell its Teksid cast-iron automotive components business to Tupy for an enterprise value of 210 million euros ($249.17 million). Fiat in 2020 merged with PSA group to create Stellantis.
Edited by Gary J. Malone