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China Takes Aim At Classic Antitrust Violations

Posted  01/27/11
China is beefing up its antitrust laws, and will be taking a closer look at classic antitrust violations such as price fixing and abuse of monopoly power. According to a government press release, China is taking the action because “various forms of price collusion and the abuse of monopoly position are seriously harming the legal rights and interests of consumers.” The measures build on an antitrust law that...

EC Pulls The Plug On LCD Manufacturers’ Price Fixing Conspiracy

Posted  12/22/10
The European Commission has fined five manufacturers of liquid crystal display (“LCD”) panels a total of 649 million euros (approximately US$ 860 million) for participating in a price-fixing conspiracy between October 2001 and February 2006. LCD panels are the main component of the flat screens used in televisions, laptop computers and desktop computer monitors. In a press release, the Commission stated that...

A Streetcar They Desired

Posted  11/24/10
Zipcar Inc., the worldwide leader in car-sharing with over 500,000 members and 8,000 vehicles, was granted approval in its bid to acquire Streetcar Limited, a leading car-sharing company in the UK.  The Competition Commission, the UK’s independent public body responsible for investigating mergers, found it unlikely that the merger would lead to a decrease in competition, thereby permitting the acquisition to...

Canada: Advertising Campaign Challenged By Competition Bureau

Posted  11/23/10
The Competition Bureau filed a complaint in Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Rogers Communications Inc. alleging that the advertising of its Chatr discount cell phone and text service violates the misleading advertising provisions of the Competition Act.  The Bureau is asking for an injunction to stop the advertising campaign and an administrative monetary penalty of $10 million dollars. The Rogers ad...

Recent Case Highlights Issues In Public Antitrust Investigations

Posted  11/22/10
Of all the substantive areas of American law, antitrust is perhaps the one that most aggressively reaches foreign conduct.  Ever since the Second Circuit’s 1945 Alcoa opinion (United States v. Aluminum Co. of America, 148 F.2d 416), courts and Congress have recognized that foreign conduct, when it affects U.S. commerce, can violate U.S. antitrust laws.  Thus U.S. antitrust regulators sometimes seek evidence of...

EU: Deodorant Merger Passes The Smell Test

Posted  11/17/10
Today, the European Commission conditionally cleared a $1.76 billion (1.2 billion euro) acquisition by Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch company, of the Sara Lee Corporation household and body care division.  The clearance required a divestiture of Sara Lee’s Sanex brand and other related business in Europe due to a concern about anticompetitiveness in certain deodorant markets. “We had to ensure that the transaction...

Italy Slaps MasterCard, Banks With Hefty Fines

Posted  11/15/10
Last week, Italy’s competition enforcement agency, the Antitrust Authority, levied penalties against MasterCard and several Italian banks totaling more than $8.4 million for artificially raising interchange fees and passing those increases onto merchants and customers.  Interchange fees are fees paid by merchants to the banks that issue the debit or credit card to their customers (the “issuing” banks). After...

Canada To Real Estate Brokers: Competition, Competition And Competition Are Also Important

Posted  11/8/10
While the three most important things about real estate may be location, location and location, Canadian antitrust enforcers are telling real estate brokers that competition is also important. The Competition Bureau of Canada has entered into a consent agreement with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) settling the Bureau's claims that the rules imposed by the CREA limited consumer choice and prevented...

Europeans Block Iron Giants’ Second Attempt To Combine

Posted  10/28/10
For the second time in as many years, antitrust enforcers have blocked a proposed deal between mining companies BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. to create the world’s largest iron-ore exporter. The companies have announced that they will not proceed with a $10 billion joint venture of their ire ore operations in western Australia, due to objections from antitrust agencies in Australia, Germany, Japan, and...

Scrap Metal Cartels Facing Global Scrutiny

Posted  10/25/10
A worldwide antitrust crackdown on scrap metal cartels has landed in Korea with the Korean Fair Trade Commission’s recent imposition of a $1.45 million fine against 25 scrap metal processors for price fixing. Scrap metal processors purchase the scraps that are produced by the steel production process.  The processors in turn sort and clean the scrap metal and sell the final product to end users, frequently other...
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