The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. Revives Facebook Suit, Adding Details to Back Claim of a Monopoly. The Federal Trade Commission took new aim at Facebook on Thursday, beefing up its accusations that the company was a monopoly that illegally crushed competition, in an attempt to overcome the skepticism of a federal judge who threw out the agency’s original case two months ago. The suit submitted Thursday contains the same overall arguments as the original, saying that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were made to create a “moat” around its monopoly in social networking and arguing that the social network should be broken up. But the updated suit is nearly twice as long and includes more facts and analysis that the agency says better support the government’s allegations.
Illumina in EU antitrust sights over premature $8 bln Grail deal. U.S. life sciences company Illumina could face a hefty fine for completing its $8 billion cash-and-stock takeover of cancer detection test maker Grail without first securing EU antitrust approval. Illumina closed the Grail takeover on Wednesday and said it would hold the company separate while waiting for the European Commission to decide whether to clear or block the deal. But the EU executive said on Friday it would investigate if Illumina has breached its standstill obligation, which requires companies to secure EU antitrust approval before closing any merger deals.
Realtor group beats back antitrust lawsuit over home-listing service. A California federal judge has dismissed an antitrust complaint alleging the real estate listing service operated by the National Association of Realtors and its local chapters unlawfully required agents to post houses for sale or risk losing access to the marketing platform. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Monday that the plaintiff, Top Agent Network Inc, which runs a competing but smaller home-listing service, had failed to show how the NAR policy violates antitrust law. Most home sales in the U.S. are listed on NAR’s local “multiple listing service,” a subscription database showing houses for sale in a market. Top Agent Network was founded in 2010 as a more narrow listing service for only high-volume agents.
Edited by Gary J. Malone