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Canadian Court Green Lights Worldwide Diamond Price-Fixing Case Against De Beers

Posted  06/15/11
A justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that an alleged worldwide diamond cartel led by rough diamond seller De Beers had sufficient anticompetitive impact on Canadian consumers to enable a price-fixing class action to survive a motion to dismiss at the pleading stage. The plaintiff alleges that De Beers and the other defendants sought to eliminate competition in the sale of gem grade diamonds in...

Dutch Tell Banks To Go Dutch Instead Of Going Steady With MasterCard

Posted  05/27/11
MasterCard is discovering that Dutch competition authorities may be serious in their goal to increase competition in the payments market by encouraging banks not to go “steady” with MasterCard. MasterCard is reporting in its 10-Q report that the Netherlands Competition Authority is challenging its co-branding and co-residency rules, which restrain banks from expanding their relationships with other payment...

“Big Four” May Face Big Trouble In Britain

Posted  05/16/11
Britain's Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) will announce this month whether it is investigating market dominance of the “Big Four” accounting firms – Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and KPMG LLP. The investigation would follow a House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report entitled “Auditors: Market concentration and their role,” released in late March criticizing the big...

European Enforcers Eye Credit Default Swaps

Posted  05/9/11
The European Commission (“EC”) is commencing two antitrust investigations of the market for credit default swaps (“CDS”). The EC investigations follow a similar investigation by the United States two years ago.  CDS, often vilified as a prime catalyst of the global financial crisis, are financial instruments that provide investors with protection in the event the subject entity defaults on payments.  For...

Mexican Feds Hit Mobile Phone Provider With $1 Billion Phone Bill

Posted  05/6/11
Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission has whacked Telcel – Mexico’s largest mobile phone provider – with a $1 billion fine for using “substantial market power” to unfairly increase its competitors’ costs. According to the Commission, Telcel charged its competitors interconnection fees for calls terminating on its network that were higher than fees paid for calls made within Telcel’s...

Europeans Engage In A Little Spring Cleaning As They Open The Window On Fines

Posted  04/29/11
The European Commission is engaging in a little spring cleaning as it opens the window on how the European Union calculates fines, and cleans up a price-fixing cartel of laundry detergent producers. The EU’s drive for greater transparency in how it sets fines was announced by Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, who revealed that the Commission will be adding a section on fines in its Statement of...

Europeans May Enlist Antitrust In Struggle For Net Neutrality

Posted  04/25/11
The European Commission may use antitrust law to enforce new “net neutrality” rules, according to an administrator who has directed both antitrust and telecommunications regulation for the 27-country European Union. New EU rules on non-discrimination by Internet service providers go into effect on May 25, 2011 and, like the rules enacted last year by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, they represent a...

French Banks Offer To Cut Payment Card Fees to Resolve Price-Fixing Allegations

Posted  04/22/11
A consortium of 130 financial institutions operating the leading interbank network in France is offering to lower most interbank fees for card transactions in order to resolve a price-fixing investigation by the French Competition Authority. Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (“CB Group”), whose network accounts for more than two thirds of all card transactions in France, are offering to lower the fees to settle...

Antitrust Stock Set To Rise? Governments To Review Massive Stock Market Merger

Posted  02/17/11
The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Euronext, has agreed to merge with Deutsche Boerse, the operator of the Frankfurt stock exchange.  In an all-stock deal worth more than $10 billion, Deutsche Boerse will own a majority 60 percent of the new company, and NYSE Euronext shareholders will own 40 percent.  The merger, if approved, would create the world’s largest financial exchange operator and...

Swiss Giant ABB Engineers Takeover Of Baldor Electric With Avalanche Of Cash

Posted  02/8/11
The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has given the green light to Swiss engineering giant ABB’s multi-billion-dollar acquisition of the American industrial motors firm Baldor Electric Co. This regulatory approval paves the way for ABB’s $4.2 billion, or $63.50 per share, all-cash purchase.  The purchase price was a 41% premium over the November 29, 2010, $45.11 closing price of Baldor...
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