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The Antitrust Week in Review

Posted  April 24, 2024

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


Two US lawmakers raise concerns over Disney, Fox, Warner sports streaming venture.  U.S. lawmakers Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro raised competition concerns over the sports streaming joint venture planned by Walt Disney Fox and Warner Bros Discovery. The congressmen questioned how the new offering would affect access, competition, and choice in the sports streaming market in a letter to the media companies’ CEOs. “We are concerned that this consolidation will result in higher prices for consumers and less fair licensing terms for upstream sports leagues and downstream video distributors,” they said in a letter addressed to Disney’s Bob Iger, Fox’s Lachlan Murdoch and Warner Bros’ David Zaslav.


F.T.C. Said to Consider Blocking Major Fashion Merger.  The Federal Trade Commission is preparing to sue to block a luxury fashion mega merger, Tapestry’s $8.5 billion takeover of Capri Holdings, two people with knowledge of the matter said.  The F.T.C.’s five commissioners are expected to meet to discuss the case, a move that could precede a formal vote on whether to file a lawsuit, the people said. The people, who were not authorized to discuss the deliberations, said it was still possible that the agency could opt not to sue. The deal, intended to bring together labels such as Tapestry’s Coach and Kate Spade with Capri’s Versace and Michael Kors, would create an American luxury conglomerate to compete with European powerhouses like Louis Vuitton’s parent, LVMH, and Kering, the owner of Gucci.


US consumers sue to stop Alaska Air, Hawaiian Airlines merger.  Alaska Air has been hit with a U.S. consumer lawsuit alleging that the carrier’s proposed $1.9 billion acquisition of rival Hawaiian Airlines will lead to higher prices, job layoffs and fewer flights. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Hawaii by eight airline passengers from Hawaii, California and other states. Some of the plaintiffs are former travel agents. The passengers said the Alaska Air deal, announced last year, will unlawfully harm air travel competition in violation of U.S. antitrust law.


North Carolina backs FTC bid against $320 million health system deal.  North Carolina has backed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit seeking to block Novant Health’s $320 million acquisition of two hospitals in the state, a deal the agency said would lead to higher prices and reduced innovative care. North Carolina’s state treasurer filed a “friend of the court” brief urging U.S. District Judge Kenneth Bell in the Western District of North Carolina to preliminarily stop Novant from buying the hospitals from Community Health Systems. The FTC in January sued Novant, which it said was among the largest hospital systems operating in the southeastern United States and “one of the most expensive” in North Carolina.


Edited by Gary J. Malone