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’s Vestager: has ‘killer’ merger deals in sight, may use court-endorsed power. EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Friday said she has a few merger deals in sight where she may use powers endorsed this week by Europe’s second-top court which allow her to scrutinise so-called ‘killer’ acquisitions. The Luxembourg-based General Court backed the European Commission’s Article 22 power to examine deals where companies do not have any activities or revenue in the 27-country European Union in a case involving Illumina and Grail. Killer acquisitions typically refer to big companies acquiring rival start-ups to close them down.
Analysis: Spirit Airlines winning bidder may need years to recoup price tag. The bidding war for Spirit Airlines Inc between Frontier Group Holdings Inc (ULCC.O) and JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU.O) may leave the acquirer taking years to earn back their investment. JetBlue’s latest cash-and-stock bid values Spirit at $3.7 billion, while Frontier’s latest cash-and-stock bid, which Spirit recommends its shareholders should back, is worth $2.4 billion. Frontier has an advantage in that its bid is seen by Spirit as more likely to be cleared by antitrust regulators than a tie-up with JetBlue. JetBlue’s current Northeast Alliance with American Airlines is already in the crosshairs of the regulators — in June, a U.S. judge said the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines Group Inc and JetBlue would move forward.
EU Commission seeking info from former EU digital chief Kroes on Uber. The European Commission has asked former EU digital chief Nellie Kroes for more information on her alleged involvement in lobbying for U.S. ride-hailing app Uber (UBER.N), a Commission spokesperson said. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and multiple media, citing leaked documents, said Uber broke laws, duped police and built a secret lobbying operation targeting prominent policymakers and politicians. Uber has denied the allegations.
Edited by Gary J. Malone