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The Antitrust Week in Review

Posted  December 28, 2020

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

Fiat Chrysler, PSA win EU antitrust okay for $38 billion merger.  Fiat Chrysler and French rival PSA gained EU antitrust approval for their $38 billion merger to create the world’s No.4 carmaker after pledging to boost Japanese rival Toyota Motor. The two carmakers are looking to the deal to help them tackle the industry’s dual challenges of funding cleaner vehicles and the global pandemic. The European Commission said PSA will extend its small van agreement with Toyota Motor by increasing capacity for Toyota and cutting transfer prices for the vehicles, spare parts and accessories to address EU competition concerns, confirming a Reuters story in October.

With Alibaba Investigation, China Gets Tougher on Tech.  China’s internet giants came to dominate segments of the world’s No. 2 economy because Beijing’s authoritarian government largely looked the other way while they grew and grew. Now the companies have the regulators’ full attention. The country’s market watchdog said on Thursday that it had opened an investigation into whether the e-commerce group Alibaba had engaged in monopolistic practices, such as restricting vendors from selling merchandise on other platforms. Separately on Thursday, four Chinese financial regulatory agencies, including the central bank, said they would meet soon with Ant Group, Alibaba’s finance-focused sister company, to discuss new supervision.

Sanofi loses bid to trim Lantus antitrust claims.  A federal judge refused to narrow a class action lawsuit accusing Sanofi-Aventis US LLC of suppressing competing versions of its diabetes drug Lantus, rejecting the company’s claim that the named plaintiff, FWK Holdings LLC, lacked standing to challenge actions Sanofi took after FWK stopped buying the drug. U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein ruled Tuesday that FWK, a drug wholesaler, had standing to pursue the claims because they were part of a single alleged scheme, in which Sanofi is said to have falsely claimed patent protection for Lantus in submissions to the Food and Drug Administration.

Edited by Gary J. Malone