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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  February 1, 2021

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

Facebook Said to Consider Suing Apple Over App Store Practices.  Facebook has considered filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, two people familiar with the deliberations said, a move that could escalate tensions between two of the world’s most powerful technology companies. Facebook executives discussed accusing Apple of anticompetitive actions in its App Store, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The social network planned to say in a lawsuit that Apple gave preferential treatment to its own apps, while forcing restrictive rules onto third-party app developers like Facebook, the people said.

Mexican watchdog fines seven international banks for bond rigging.  Mexico’s antitrust watchdog Cofece said on Monday that it has imposed fines totaling 35 million pesos ($1.75 million) on seven international banks and traders for market manipulation and collusion in the government bond market about a decade ago. Cofece said Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Santander, Banamex, Bank of America, BBVA Bancomer and JP Morgan as well as 11 traders agreed on 142 instances either to sell or buy bonds at a certain price or to not trade them at all. These agreements “had a direct impact on the price of the related instruments” it said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs loses legal fight against EU cartel fine.  U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs on Wednesday lost its fight against an EU cartel fine handed down to its former Italian subsidiary and cable maker Prysmian after Europe’s top court said it was liable for the actions of the unit. Prysmian was fined 104.6 million euros ($127 million) by EU antitrust regulators in 2014 for taking part in a cartel with 10 other cable makers. Its penalty included a joint fine of 37.3 million euros with Goldman Sachs, which had acquired the Italian company via one of its private equity funds in 2005 but has since sold its holding.

German cartel office extends probe of ties between Facebook and Oculus.  Germany’s antitrust regulator said on Thursday it was extending the scope of its abuse proceedings against Facebook related to the links between its Oculus virtual reality products and the social media network. The move comes after legislation took effect earlier this month that sets new rules for “undertakings of paramount significance for competition across markets”, the Federal Cartel Office said in a statement. “An ecosystem which extends across various markets – an almost unchallengeable position of economic power – is particularly characteristic in this respect,” cartel office chief Andreas Mundt said in a statement.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

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