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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  May 15, 2024

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

 

Japan’s Nippon Steel sticks to plan to close U.S. Steel deal by year-end.  Japan’s top steelmaker, Nippon Steel, is sticking to its plan to close a deal by year-end to buy U.S. Steel, which it expects to boost output and profits, the company said, despite resistance to the transaction in the U.S. In December, Nippon Steel offered nearly $15 billion to take over iconic U.S. Steel, drawing resistance from both President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, his likely challenger in the Nov. 5 election, as well as the United Steelworkers (USW) union. This month, Nippon Steel moved the deadline from end-September after the U.S. Department of Justice sought more details and materials in an antitrust review. The European Commission has already approved the deal.

 

Consumers demand ex-Pioneer CEO records in shale-oil antitrust lawsuit.  Plaintiffs in an antitrust class action over oil prices have asked a federal judge in Nevada to force Pioneer Natural Resources to hand over communications involving its embattled former CEO Scott Sheffield that it gave to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The FTC approved Exxon Mobil’s $64 billion purchase of Dallas-based Pioneer, but the agency barred Sheffield from Exxon’s board over allegations that he tried to collude with OPEC to reduce output of oil and gas in order to boost his company’s profits. Pioneer is among the defendants in the Nevada case, in which consumers claim it and other energy companies conspired to curb output of shale oil, raising prices for retail gasoline and diesel fuel, marine fuel and residential heating oil.

 

Las Vegas hotels defeat price-fixing class action over room rates.  A U.S. judge has thrown out a proposed consumer class-action lawsuit accusing a group of major Las Vegas hotels of sharing price information through a third-party platform in order to charge artificially higher room rental rates. Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Las Vegas in a ruling said the plaintiffs had not shown that the hotels had made any agreement with each other to fix prices. Du had dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit but let the consumers amend their case. Her new order dismissed the lawsuit outright.

 

Edited by Gary J. Malone