The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
EU antitrust regulators halt Illumina, Grail probe again, await data. EU antitrust regulators have temporarily paused their investigation into U.S. life sciences company Illumina bid for $8 billion cash-and-stock takeover of Grail while waiting for the companies to provide details. This is the second time that the European Commission has halted its scrutiny. The previous deadline for its decision was March 25, set after Illumina provided remedies in a bid to address its concerns about the deal. Announced in September 2020, the deal would give Illumina access to Grail’s flagship Galleri blood test used to diagnose cancers at early stages when the disease is easier to treat.
Analysis: Inflation fears, Biden antitrust efforts could doom Sanderson, Wayne chicken deal. A plan hatched by Cargill Inc and Continental Grain Co to combine two big chicken processors – Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms – flies in the face of the Biden administration’s efforts to fight not just consolidation in the sector, but inflation. The deal is being considered even as the U.S. Labor Department said in early January that inflation was at a nearly 40-year high. Chicken prices rose 10.4% in the previous year. President Joe Biden’s administration, concerned about price hikes in general and especially in the meat sector, announced earlier this month that it would spend $1 billion and issue new rules as a way to address a lack of “meaningful competition” in meat processing.
Blow to Gazprom critics as EU court upholds antitrust settlement. Gazprom’s critics suffered a blow when the European Union’s second highest court upheld a 2018 decision that let the Russian gas giant settle a long-running antitrust investigation without paying a fine. The European Commission, the EU’s competition enforcer, in 2018 accepted Gazprom’s concessions, which included a pledge to reform its pricing structure and allow rivals a foothold in eastern Europe. That allowed the company to avoid a fine that could be as much as 10% of its global turnover.
Edited by Gary J. Malone