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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  October 5, 2022

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

U.S. House approves merger antitrust bill giving states more muscle.  The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would sharply raise fees for antitrust reviews of the biggest mergers and strengthen state attorneys general in antitrust fights. The bipartisan bill, which has yet to pass the U.S. Senate, combines a merger fee bill introduced by Representative Joe Neguse, a Democrat, and a measure to mandate that state attorneys general can pick the venue for antitrust lawsuits, which was introduced by Representative Ken Buck, a Republican.

U.S. Suit Over Alliance of American Airlines and JetBlue Goes to Trial.  A Justice Department effort to break up an alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways is set to go to trial in Boston, part of a broad Biden administration push to aggressively enforce antitrust rules and promote economic competition.  Under the partnership, announced in 2020 and referred to as the Northeast Alliance, American and JetBlue joined forces in Boston and New York. In those cities, the airlines share some revenue and access to airport gates and allow customers to buy trips and take part in loyalty programs at the airlines interchangeably.  American, the world’s largest airline by market share, and JetBlue say the alliance helps them to compete against the dominant carriers in those cities, while the Justice Department argues that it is effectively a partial merger that reduces competition.

EU antitrust regulators set Nov. 8 deadline for Microsoft, Activision decision.  EU antitrust regulators will decide by Nov. 8 whether to clear Microsoft Corp’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard, according to a European Commission filing on Friday. The deal, the biggest in the gaming industry, will help the U.S. software company better compete with leaders Tencent and Sony. The EU competition enforcer can clear the deal with or without remedies after its preliminary review, or it can open a four-month long investigation if it has serious concerns.