The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Facebook Faces New Antitrust Lawsuit. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, downloaded a popular new app, Phhhoto, on Aug. 8, 2014, and took a selfie. Other Facebook executives and product managers soon followed suit. The social network then made overtures to integrate Phhhoto. But the interest of Facebook’s top executives in Phhhoto was just a show, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York by the start-up, which is now defunct. Instead, Facebook simply wanted to squash the competition, according to the suit, which accused the company of antitrust violations.
U.S. Senate bill would limit big tech mergers. Two U.S. senators have introduced bipartisan legislation that seeks to make it harder for tech giants to make acquisitions. The office of Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, introduced a bill that would make it easier for the government to stop deals it believes break antitrust law by requiring the companies to prove to a judge that the deals are good for competition, and therefore legal. A similar bill, introduced by Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries and others, has been approved in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and awaits a vote by the full House. Traditionally it is up to the government in antitrust enforcement to show a particular transaction would cause prices to rise or is illegal for other reasons.
Justice Dept. Sues Penguin Random House Over Simon & Schuster Deal. The Biden administration is suing to stop Penguin Random House, the largest publisher in the United States, from acquiring its rival Simon & Schuster, as part of a new drive in Washington against corporate consolidation. In a publishing landscape dominated by a handful of mega corporations, Penguin Random House towers over the others. It operates more than 300 imprints worldwide and has 15,000 new releases a year, far more than the other four major U.S. publishers. With its $2.18 billion proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House stood to become substantially larger.
Edited by Gary J. Malone