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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  January 27, 2023

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

Microsoft loses bid to pause gamers’ lawsuit over Activision deal.  A U.S. judge in California turned down Microsoft Corp’s bid to freeze a private consumer antitrust lawsuit over the company’s $69 billion deal to acquire “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard Inc while a related regulatory challenge to the deal plays out. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco comes after gamers opposed Microsoft’s request to stay their case pending resolution of a Federal Trade Commission challenge in Washington, D.C. The 10 plaintiffs argue, in claims similar to the FTC’s, that the Activision deal would harm competition in the video game industry by reducing consumer choice and raising prices.

Apple appeals investigation by UK competition watchdog.  Technology giant Apple has filed an appeal against an investigation by Britain’s competition watchdog into the dominance of its mobile browsers in the cloud gaming market. Last November, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Britain’s competition regulator, launched a full investigation into cloud gaming and mobile browsers on concerns about restrictions by iPhone-maker Apple and Google. Lawyers representing Apple said in a notice filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal that the CMA’s investigation had missed timing requirements linked to the launch of an investigation.

High egg prices should be investigated, U.S. farm group says.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should examine high egg prices for signs of price gouging from top egg companies, a farm group said, as Americans continue to pay more than ever for the household staple. U.S. regulators, farmers, and industry have often argued in recent years about the power of top agriculture firms to set prices and drive up what consumers pay for groceries, such as when the price of beef skyrocketed in 2021. The latest concern is eggs, the price of which was up 138% in December from a year prior, to $4.25 a dozen, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

McKesson’s $141 mln deal in investor suit over price-fixing gets initial OK.  A $141 million settlement between McKesson Corp and a class of shareholders accusing the drug distributor of hiding the fact that it profited from a price-fixing conspiracy among generic drugmakers has won preliminary approval from a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco ruled that the settlement, first announced in November, “appears to be fair, reasonable, and adequate.” However, investors will still have a chance to object to the settlement before the approval becomes final.