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German Coffee Companies Get A Wake-Up Call For Price-Fixing

Posted  06/14/10
The Bundeskartellamt, Germany's version of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, has announced it is fining eight coffee roasters 30 million euros ($35.9 million) for illegally fixing the price of wholesale coffee sold to bulk customers such as restaurants and hotels. Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt spoke strongly about the need for antitrust regulation, saying that "cartels ... are highly...

It's Sunny Side Up In Philadelphia For Plaintiffs In Egg Price-Fixing Settlement

Posted  06/10/10
While it may not really be always sunny in Philadelphia, it’s certainly a bright day for plaintiffs in the In re Processed Eggs Antitrust Litigation, who have announced that Land O’Lakes Inc. and two of its subsidiaries, Moark and Norco Ranch Inc., have agreed to settle the egg price-fixing case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for $25 million and a promise to cooperate in litigation against the remaining...

Federal Enforcers To Come Under Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Microscope

Posted  06/3/10
On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a general oversight hearing on the two federal antitrust enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. The heads of these agencies, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney and Federal Trade Commission Chair Jon Leibowitz will testify.  The...

Apple May Become Punchline Of DOJ Investigation

Posted  06/1/10
Maybe comedian Jon Stewart had a point about Apple.  Last month, he chastised the chic technology company, saying: “You guys were the rebels, man, the underdogs – people believed in you!  But now, are you becoming … The Man?” It seems that the U.S. Department of Justice might agree.  According to the New York Times, the DOJ is investigating Apple for using its successful iTunes online music store to...

Hamptons’ Real Estate Brokers Find Exclusivity Has Its Price

Posted  05/27/10
Although the Hamptons may be renowned as an exclusive vacation spot on New York’s Long Island, its real estate brokers may be getting some unwanted attention from the U.S. Department of Justice for expanding that exclusivity into the way they do business. Apparently, the real estate industry has attracted the attention of antitrust investigators because of an online listing service – OpenRealNet Exchange, run...

Merchants On Verge Of Big Win In Debit And Credit Card Fee War

Posted  05/25/10
Merchants in the United States are on the verge of a significant victory in their long struggle to limit credit and debit card fees. The Senate has approved an amendment to its financial reform bill that curtails the power of the card issuers in significant ways, including requiring that the “interchange fees” charged by banks on fees on debit card transactions be “reasonable and proportional to the actual”...

American Needle Scores Touchdown Against NFL In Supreme Court

Posted  05/24/10
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of plaintiff American Needle and a more expansive view of the scope of antitrust law today with what may well turn out to be a landmark opinion in the much anticipated case of American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League. The decision rejects the lower courts’ broad grant of immunity to joint ventures from the conspiracy prohibition of § 1 of the Sherman Antitrust...

FTC Passes On Challenging Google-AdMob Merger

Posted  05/24/10
Antitrust enforcement is not going mobile, at least as of today. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission decided not to challenge to Google’s $750 million purchase of AdMob, which places electronic advertisements on cell phones and other mobile devices. According to the FTC, the decision was “a difficult one because the parties currently are the two leading mobile advertising networks, and the Commission was...

FTC Says Even Small Merger To Monopoly Is Big Deal

Posted  05/21/10
The FTC is suing Dun & Bradstreet to challenge its February 2009 acquisition of QED, a division of Scholastic that provides kindergarten through twelfth-grade educational marketing databases. The combination of MDR, Dun & Bradstreet’s subsidiary, and QED was a merger-to-monopoly, giving the combined entity more than 90 percent of the market for K-12 educational marketing data.  The deal glided under the radar...

NCAA’s One-Year Scholarship Rule Faces Antitrust Exam

Posted  05/20/10
The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is asking the National Collegiate Athletic Association to explain its scholarship policy in an exam that could lead to a failing grade for the NCAA’s ban on multi-year athletic scholarships. The NCAA’s rule requires schools to review students’ eligibility for athletic scholarships every year, up to a maximum of five years of eligibility – automatic...
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