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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  November 16, 2020

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

U.S. needs tougher antitrust enforcement: Biden transition team expert.  The United States should increase enforcement of antitrust laws as part of a general attack on social ills, Bill Baer, who is on President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), said on Thursday.  Baer pointed to multi-year battles that the FTC had to fight a series of hospital mergers as well as its ongoing battle against brand name pharmaceutical companies settling patent litigation by paying generic companies to delay entering the market, so-called pay-for-delay deals.  The healthcare industry is one that has seen dizzying price increases.  “We should care too about under enforcement because it’s led to growing concentration in many markets, think agriculture, telecom, wireless, travel, pharma and beer,” he said at an American Bar Association conference.

Federal judge dismisses some claims by Apple in fight against Epic Games – Bloomberg News.  A federal judge in California late on Tuesday dismissed some of Apple Inc.’s counterclaims against Epic Games, Bloomberg News reported, narrowing the scope of a dispute that has seen the online game maker’s “Fortnite” game removed from the iPhone maker’s App Store.  Apple and Epic have been in a legal battle since August, when the maker of the popular game launched its own in-app payment system to circumvent what it called Apple’s monopolistic practices.  Epic in October had filed a motion in advance of Tuesday’s hearing, seeking the dismissal of Apple’s counterclaims of intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and conversion, where in Apple had asked for lost App Store fees and other monetary damages.

U.S. Justice Department clears Uber-Postmates deal: Axios.  The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Uber Technologies Inc.’s acquisition of food delivery company Postmates, news website Axios reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. Uber announced in July that it would buy Postmates for $2.65 billion in an all-stock deal after its bid to acquire rival Grubhub Inc. fell apart over regulatory and other concerns. .The ride-hailing company disclosed in a regulatory filing in September that the Justice Department was also scrutinizing its plan to buy Postmates over antitrust worries. .The agency’s move put the deal on hold until both companies complied with the government’s request for more details to receive an approval.

More tech executives than tech critics on Biden’s transition team.  Far more executives from technology companies than outspoken tech critics were named to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Tuesday, offering clues on who will decide on filling key roles and ultimately influence his administration’s thinking in coming years.  Tech companies have been trying to strengthen their relationship with a future Biden administration to ensure they have a voice in an onslaught of federal and state investigations of their business practices.  The Biden transition team released a list of agency review teams on Tuesday.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation,