May 22, 2017

The Antitrust Week In Review

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

EU Fines Facebook 110 mln euros over WhatsApp deal.  European Union antitrust regulators fined Facebook 110 million euros ($122 million) on Thursday for giving misleading information during a vetting of its deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.  Calling it a “proportionate and deterrent fine,” the European Commission, which acts as the EU’s competition watchdog, said Facebook had said it could not automatically match user accounts on its namesake platform and WhatsApp, but two years later launched a service that did exactly that.

Tronc in Talks with Wrapports to Acquire Chicago Sun-Times.  Two longtime newspaper rivals in the once highly competitive Chicago market may end with the acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times by the owner of the Chicago Tribune, which has grabbed the attention of the U.S. Justice Department Monday.  Chicago-based Wrapports LLC announced in a statement it has agreed to enter into discussions with Tronc Inc., owner of several major newspapers, after failing to interest other media companies in acquiring the Sun-Times.

HSBC Settles Bondholders’ Claims of Libor Manipulation.  HSBC Holdings Plc has settled claims by a group of U.S. bondholders that it conspired with rivals to rig the Libor benchmark interest rate, according to a New York court filing by the bondholders’ attorneys.  The filing did not disclose the terms of the settlement, which it said must be approved by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan federal court.

Antitrust: Commission Opens Formal Investigation into Aspen Pharma’s Pricing Practices for Cancer Medicines.  The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into concerns that Aspen Pharma has engaged in excessive pricing concerning five life-saving cancer medicines.  The Commission will investigate whether Aspen has abused a dominant market position in breach of EU antitrust rules.

Merck, Upsher-Smith to Pay $60 mln in ‘Pay-for-Delay’ Drug Case.  Merck & Co Inc and Upsher-Smith Laboratories Inc. have agreed to pay $60.2 million to resolve a lawsuit that said they entered into a deal to unlawfully delay the availability of generic versions of potassium supplement K-Dur.  The settlement, disclosed in papers filed in federal court in Newark, came in a class action filed in 2001 arising out of a settlement in patent litigation between Upsher-Smith and Schering-Plough Corp, now owned by Merck.  That patent deal, plaintiffs in the antitrust class action said, was an example of a “pay-for-delay” settlement, in which brand-name drug makers pay generic companies to keep their products off the market for a longer period.

Leave a comment »

Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, General, International Competition Issues

    May 1, 2017

    The Antitrust Week In Review

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

    U.S. Appeals Court Blocks Anthem Bid to Merge with Rival Cigna.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday blocked health insurer Anthem Inc.’s bid to merge with Cigna, upholding a lower court’s decision that the $54 billion deal should not be allowed because it would lead to higher prices for healthcare.  The ruling will probably kill the proposed merger, which was opposed by the U.S. Justice Department, 11 states and a District Court judge after consumers, medical professionals and others objected to it.  In the end, Cigna itself tried to back out.  Still, Anthem and Cigna have the option of trying to save the deal by asking the appeals court to re-consider the case or appealing straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    How Trump’s Pick for Top Antitrust Cop May Shape Competition.  Makan Delrahim, the nominee for chief antitrust cop at the Justice Department, was 10 when his family immigrated to the United States from Iran as Jewish political refugees.  Unable to speak English, he struggled to keep up in school. He worked afternoons and weekends at his father’s gas station near Los Angeles until college.  As a young Senate staff member years later, Mr. Delrahim found those early experiences had laid the foundation for his conservative views.

    Sanofi Files U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit Against Mylan Over EpiPen.  France’s Sanofi SA on Monday sued Mylan NV, accusing the pharmaceutical company of engaging in illegal conduct to squelch competition to its EpiPen allergy treatment, which has been at the center of a public debate over drug prices.  In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, Sanofi said Mylan caused it to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in sales by erecting barriers to U.S. consumers’ access to and use of a rival product, Auvi-Q.  In particular, Sanofi said Mylan offered rebates to insurers, pharmaceutical benefit managers and state Medicaid agencies conditioned on Auvi-Q not being an epinephrine auto-injector device they would reimburse for use by consumers.

    FTC Allows Sycamore to Sell Family Dollar Stores to Dollar General.  The Federal Trade Commission gave a private equity firm approval on Thursday to sell to Dollar General Corp 323 stores that Sycamore purchased as part of a divestiture package two years ago, the agency said on Thursday.  Sycamore Partners II, LP bought the stores in 2015 when Dollar Tree was forced to sell shops in 35 states to win antitrust approval to buy the Family Dollar chain in what was then a $9.2 billion deal.  Sycamore, which had created Dollar Express LLC to run the business, asked the FTC to approve the stores’ transfer to competitor Dollar General (DG.N) in March and said in a document filed with the FTC that the chain could “no longer viably operate as a standalone business.”

    Leave a comment »

    Categories: Antitrust Litigation, Antitrust Policy, General, Uncategorized

      April 24, 2017

      The Antitrust Week In Review

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

      Anthem Denies Report of Talks with Justice Dept.Regarding Merger.  Health insurer Anthem Inc. denied a report on Thursday that it was in negotiations with the Justice Department in an effort to save its merger with smaller rival Cigna Corp.  The companies are awaiting a decision from a federal appeals court, which had been asked to rule on whether the Justice Department could stop the $54 billion merger on antitrust grounds.  The lawsuit was originally brought by the Obama administration and a federal judge agreed that the deal should be stopped.

      AT&T’s Words on Time Warner Deal Say ‘Underdog.’  Its Actions Speak Otherwise.  In the nation’s capital, AT&T has painted itself as an underdog that needs to merge with Time Warner in a blockbuster $85 billion deal to compete with powerful cable companies.  But in several cities and states, AT&T has positioned itself as the incumbent telecommunications juggernaut that has acted to hamper competitors locally.  With its giant deal with Time Warner under review at the Justice Department, AT&T’s contrasting federal and local actions are glaring.

      Appeals Court Skeptical of Piercing MLB Antitrust Exemption.  A three-court panel of federal appeals judges was skeptical of a lawyer for minor league baseball players who wants to pierce the sport’s antitrust exemption.  Sergio Miranda, an infielder drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2007, sued Major League Baseball, then-Commissioner Bud Selig and the 30 clubs in 2014 along with several other minor leaguers, alleging the sport’s minor league reserve system violates federal antitrust law. The suit was dismissed on Sept. 24, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., and the minor leaguers wants the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the action.

      Fed Fines Deutsche Bank $156.6 Million for Forex Violations.  The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday fined Deutsche Bank AG $156.6 million for violating foreign exchange rules and running afoul of the Volcker Rule.  The German bank failed to detect and halt its traders from using chat rooms to communicate with competitors, the Fed said in a statement.  Central bank officials are “requiring the firm to cooperate in any investigation of the individuals involved in the conduct underlying the FX enforcement,” according to the statement.

      Leave a comment »

      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, General, International Competition Issues

        February 27, 2017

        The Antitrust Week In Review

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

        Should SCOTUS Review Nixed $7.2 Billion Credit-Card Antitrust Settlement?  Depending on which side you believe, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the biggest antitrust class action settlement in history last June, the appeals court either: drastically misread U.S. Supreme Court precedent in a way that will make it much more difficult and expensive to resolve big cases requesting both money damages and an injunction; or squelched a novel strategy that served the interests of the defendants while cutting off the rights of unrepresented future plaintiffs.  Thomas Goldstein and Eric Citron of Goldstein & Russell make a strong argument for the second option in their just-filed Supreme Court brief for objectors to the $7.2 billion settlement killed by the 2nd Circuit – a deal for cash and injunctive relief between the credit card companies Visa and MasterCard and merchants who accept the cards.

        Food Industry May Follow the Brewers’ Merger Frenzy.  As millennials became old enough to hang out in bars about 15 years ago, the likes of Budweiser and Miller started to taste flat.  Fancier drinks and craft beers cut into the brewing giants’ market shares.  A gusher of mergers followed, culminating in the $104 billion acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Kraft Heinz’s $143 billion bid for Unilever last week, although quickly aborted, is a sign that the attention of millennials and the potential for mergers have shifted to the food industry.  In any such deals, antitrust regulators may force asset sales.

        EU Regulators Set to Clear Dow, DuPont Deal: Sources.  Dow Chemical and DuPont are set to win EU antitrust approval for their $130 billion merger, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, one of three mega deals in the agrochemicals industry.  The deal, which still needs approval from U.S. and other regulators, has faced intense scrutiny from the European Commission.  Of particular concern is combining the two companies’ agricultural businesses which sell seeds and crop protection chemicals, including insecticides and pesticides.

        U.S. Judge Dismisses Most of Euribor-Rigging Lawsuit.  A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed most of an investor lawsuit accusing several major banks of conspiring to manipulate the benchmark European Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor, and related derivatives.  In a 100-page decision, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan said several claims in the proposed class action must fail because of a lack of evidence that the defendants conspired to restrain trade or because they involved foreign conduct.

        Leave a comment »

        Categories: Antitrust Litigation, General, International Competition Issues

          February 20, 2017

          The Antitrust Week In Review

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

          Anthem Sues Cigna to Block Termination of Merger.  Anthem on Wednesday won a temporary restraining order that blocks smaller rival Cigna from officially terminating their proposed $54 billion merger, a transaction already rejected by U.S. antitrust regulators.  The deal would have created the largest U.S. health insurer.  Rivals Aetna and Humana had sought their own merger, representing an unprecedented consolidation among U.S. health insurers.  In separate rulings, federal judges struck down both deals as anticompetitive, at the request of the Justice Department.  Aetna and Humana said on Tuesday they were ending their deal, but Anthem filed an appeal of its ruling.

          Top Antitrust Senators Call for Sessions to Scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner Merger.  The top senators on the  Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel are urging the U.S. Department of Justice to scrutinize the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger for the possibility that it leads to anticompetitive practices.  The subcommittee’s chair, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointing to aspects of the deal that they find troubling.

          U.S. Antitrust Obstacles Seen for T-Mobile, Sprint Deal.  Japan’s SoftBank Corp Group may have renewed interest in combining its Sprint Corp with Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile US Inc., but a deal between the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers may not make it past U.S. regulators, antitrust experts and industry watchers said.  SoftBank is prepared to give up control of Sprint to T-Mobile, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.  The companies are expected to begin negotiations in April after the Federal Communications Commission’s auction of airwaves concludes.

          Kraft Heinz Offers to Buy Unilever in $143 Billion Deal.  The world’s grocery carts could soon be filled with more and more products from one global colossus.  Food, beverage and consumer-goods companies have been seeking merger partners to obtain greater scale and efficiencies as consumers, particularly younger shoppers, eschew the boxed and jarred foods of their parents’ generation.  Now, one such recently merged giant, Kraft Heinz, has set its sights on the biggest target to date: Unilever, the home of Dove soap and Axe body spray, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.  But a merger would be certain to draw antitrust reviews by regulators from many countries.

          Leave a comment »

          Categories: Antitrust Litigation, Antitrust Policy, General

            « Previous Entries  






            © 2009-2017 Constantine Cannon LLP. Attorney Advertising. Disclaimer. Privacy Policy.