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Antitrust Insights and Analysis

Bell’s Brewery Sale May Tap Into Longstanding Portfolio Effects Debate

Posted  11/19/21
By Sarah Bayer
The announced acquisition of Bell’s Brewery by Japanese conglomerate Kirin provides an opportunity to reexamine the much-maligned “portfolio effects” doctrine of merger analysis. Bell’s, the Michigan-based craft brewer of Oberon and Two Hearted Ale, will join Fat Tire maker New Belgium within the Lion Little World Beverages subsidiary of Kirin.  Kirin owns a wide array of brands globally, as well as firms...

The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal: Change at the Top, and a New Practice Direction on Witness Statements

Posted  11/17/21
By Stephen Critchley
The United Kingdom Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “CAT”) is charting a new direction in both leadership and witnesses. New President The CAT has announced that Sir Marcus Smith has replaced Mr Justice Roth as its President. As a barrister, Sir Marcus specialised in regulatory law. In 2009, he was appointed as a Chairman of the CAT, which hears appeals of various regulators’ decisions – specifically...

Do You Have an Antitrust Remedy When Your Major Suppliers, Buyers or Competitors Merge?

Posted  11/17/21
By Robert L. Begleiter, Taline Sahakian
A Primer on Private Merger Challenges As more and more companies fear that mergers in their industries will leave them with fewer options, they should consider whether they have an antitrust option available. Mergers are on the rise. The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Federal Trade Commission have reported a huge increase in mergers—with the antitrust agencies receiving more than 4,000...

What to Expect During Antitrust Merger Reviews and Investigations Under the Biden Administration (Part 1)

Posted  11/11/21
By Alysia A. Solow, Alan H. Schwartz
Antitrust enforcers are revising the gamebook for firms that hope to get their mergers through the federal merger review process. As this blog has previously reported on increased antitrust enforcement under the Biden Administration, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) are continuing with their renewed efforts to promote competition and block potentially...

Will New York Become An AmEx Free Zone?

Posted  11/8/21
By Jeffrey I. Shinder
Many observers, this blog included, have commented on the potentially groundbreaking nature of New York’s proposed 21st Century Antitrust Act. Supporters of the bill emphasize the systematic dismantling of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, which is best evidenced by Justice Scalia’s “monopoly is good” diatribe in Verizon Communications, Inc. v. Trinko, 540 U.S. 398, 407.  Given the Supreme Court’s solicitude to...

DOJ Seeks to Close the Book on Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Simon & Schuster

Posted  11/4/21
On November 2, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) once again demonstrated its renewed resolve to block anticompetitive concentrations by filing a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Penguin Random House LLC’s proposed acquisition of its close competitor, Simon & Shuster. DOJ alleges that the merger would give Penguin Random House “outsized influence over who and what is published, and how much...

Republican FTC Commissioners Issue Dissenting Statement on Use of Prior Approval Provisions in Merger Orders

Posted  11/3/21
By David A. Scupp
As this blog has discussed, the FTC announced last week it is restoring a policy of “routinely requiring merging parties subject to a Commission order to obtain prior approval from the FTC before closing any future transaction affecting each relevant market for which a violation was alleged.”  According to the FTC, its Prior Approval Policy will help prevent facially anticompetitive deals, preserve FTC resources,...

Budding Antitrust Activity in the Cannabis Industry: Lessons from Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. Koziol

Posted  11/2/21
By Kristian Soltes
As the cannabis industry continues to blossom from the backwoods into a multi-billion dollar bonanza, the antitrust spotlight is poised to increasingly shine on the industry’s many players. A California state court jury’s recent verdict awarding treble damages of $15 million to a medical marijuana collective could be an early harbinger of future activity in the cannabis space. The verdict was returned on...

Biden’s Pick for Top Antitrust Enforcer is Likely to Continue DOJ’s Increasing Focus on Labor Markets

Posted  10/29/21
By Janice Johnson
President Biden’s nominee for his administration’s top antitrust enforcer appears likely to continue the trend of increased enforcement efforts in labor markets. At his Senate confirmation hearing on October 6, 2021, Jonathan Kanter testified that, “If the antitrust laws are not working to protect competition to the benefit of workers, then the antitrust laws are not working.” Kanter is President Biden’s

FTC Restores an Old Fence With Restoration of Prior-Approval Policy for Future Mergers by Anticompetitive Dealmakers

Posted  10/28/21
By Allison F. Sheedy
The FTC announced this week that it is restoring a prior-approval policy that requires firms subject to FTC orders resolving  anticompetitive mergers to obtain prior approval from the FTC before closing future transactions. Companies settling an anticompetitive deal by entering into a consent order with the FTC will need the agency’s blessing to close any further acquisitions in each affected market for at least...
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