The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. trade regulator will not appeal Qualcomm case to Supreme Court. The Federal Trade Commission said it would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review its appeals court loss against Qualcomm Inc, which the agency had accused of breaking antitrust law in selling chips for smartphones. In October, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said it would not rehear arguments over whether the San Diego, California-based company had engaged in anticompetitive patent-licensing practices to keep a monopoly on the market for modem chips that connect smart phones to wireless data networks. A three-judge panel on that court had ruled in August that the FTC failed to prove its case. In a statement, Acting FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter noted “significant headwinds facing the Commission in this matter” in deciding to not petition the Supreme Court. “I continue to believe that the district court’s conclusion that Qualcomm violated the antitrust laws was entirely correct and that the court of appeals erred in concluding otherwise,” she added.
UK refers Facebook acquisition of Giphy for in-depth probe. Britain on Thursday referred Facebook Inc’s acquisition of GIF website Giphy for an in-depth probe after Facebook told the country’s competition watchdog it would not be offering any concessions to address antitrust concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week gave Facebook and Giphy five working days to offer proposals to address its concerns over their merger deal. However, the CMA said on Thursday that Facebook had informed it last Thursday that it would not be offering any remedies to address its competition concerns.
EPEX SPOT power exchange targeted in EU antitrust investigation. The Paris-based power exchange EPEX SPOT on Tuesday found itself the target of an EU antitrust investigation as enforcers voiced concerns that it may be blocking rivals in the intraday power markets in France, Germany and four other EU countries. The European Commission said EPEX SPOT may be abusing its market power in breach of EU competition rules and that such practices, if proven, could push up consumer prices and hinder the cost-effective integration of renewable energy into the electricity mix. It said the investigation would focus on business practices aimed at foreclosing EPEX SPOT’s competitors by curtailing the ability of their customers to access the entire liquidity of the intraday market.
Edited by Gary J. Malone