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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  December 7, 2020

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

Justice Dept. Suit Says Facebook Discriminates Against U.S. Workers.  The Justice Department sued Facebook on Thursday, accusing it of being un-American by favoring foreign workers with visas over those from the United States, in a new push against tech companies in the waning days of the Trump administration.  In the complaint, the department’s civil rights division said Facebook “refused to recruit, consider or hire qualified and available U.S. workers” for more than 2,600 positions, with an average salary of $156,000.  Those jobs instead went to immigrant visa holders, according to the complaint.  The action followed a two-year investigation into whether Facebook intentionally favored so-called H1-B visa and other temporary immigrant workers over U.S. workers, the Justice Department said.

S&P deal for IHS likely to draw antitrust scrutiny from Biden administration.  Data giant S&P Global Inc.’s plan to buy IHS Markit Ltd. for $44 billion will face hard questions from the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, which has indicated that antitrust enforcement will get tougher, anti-trust experts said on Monday.  The deal creates a stronger No. 3 in the financial information market by bringing together S&P Global’s expertise in providing debt ratings to countries and companies and data on capital and commodity markets, with IHS’ pricing and reference data for financial assets and derivatives.  Consolidation among financial information services providers is intensifying as companies seek to become one-stop-shops for financial professionals using data to run models and algorithms that influence billions of dollars of capital flows.

Italy’s antitrust fines Apple 10 million euros for misleading commercial practices.  Italy’s antitrust authority said it had fined Apple 10 million euros ($12 million) for “aggressive and misleading” commercial practices regarding its iPhones.  The regulator said in a statement the company advertised that several iPhone models were water-resistant without clarifying they were only so under certain circumstances.  It added that the company’s disclaimer, saying that its phones were not covered by warranty in case of damage from liquids, tricked clients, who were also not provided support when their phones were damaged by water or other liquids.

Facebook to Acquire Start-Up Kustomer as It Faces Antitrust Glare.  Facebook is facing the glare of regulators for buying up promising start-ups and neutralizing them as a competitive threat.  But that hasn’t stopped the social network from shelling out for more companies. Facebook announced that it planned to acquire Kustomer, a customer relationship management start-up, to help it build its e-commerce business.  The deal values Kustomer at close to $1 billion, said two people with knowledge of the talks. Kustomer, which is based in New York, had raised roughly $170 million in venture funding, according to data compiled by Crunchbase.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues,