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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  January 25, 2022

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

U.S. antitrust enforcers plan to toughen merger guidelines.  U.S. antitrust enforcers announced plans to rewrite merger guidelines in order to better fight illegal deals. The U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission issued a joint statement saying U.S. industries had become increasingly concentrated and a surge in merger filings in 2020 and 2021 signaled the situation will worsen. In the statement FTC Chair Lina Khan cited a need to prevent price rises and prevent companies from pushing wages down. She said the agencies were soliciting public opinion on how best to address this.

App developers redouble antitrust claims against Facebook in appeal bid.  Three application developers urged a U.S. appeals court to revive their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook over its purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram, arguing the alleged harm they suffered from the deals entitles them to sue. Plaintiffs Reveal Chat HoldCo LLC, USA Technology and Management Services Inc and Beehive Biometric Inc in a court filing told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that their injury means they have legal standing to sue Facebook, now owned by Meta Platforms Inc. The filing from the plaintiffs and a separate one from Facebook’s lawyers responded to an inquiry from the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit on Jan. 10 over whether the plaintiffs can show how Facebook’s market behavior harmed their businesses.

Microsoft-Activision deal gives merger speculators a new darling.  Hedge funds that earn returns speculating on precarious acquisitions were handed a gift last week when Microsoft Corp agreed to buy “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) for $68.7 billion in cash. The transaction will require antitrust approval in the United States as well as other major jurisdictions including the European Union and China. It comes as President Joe Biden’s administration is raising its scrutiny of big mergers, blaming some of them for price increases on consumers that fuel inflation.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation,