September 5, 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.

Landmark Intel judgment critical for other EU antitrust cases.  Europe’s top court will rule on Wednesday whether U.S. chipmaker Intel offered illegal rebates to squeeze out rivals in a judgment that could affect EU antitrust regulators’ cases against Qualcomm and Alphabet’s Google.  The ruling by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union could also provide more clarity on whether rebates are anti-competitive by nature or whether enforcers need to prove the anti-competitive effect.  The European Commission in a 2009 decision said that Intel tried to thwart rival Advanced Micro Devices by giving rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett Packard, NEC and Lenovo for buying most of their computer chips from the company.

Alphabet’s Google acts to comply with EU antitrust order.  Google has submitted details of how it plans to stop favoring its shopping service to comply with a European Union antitrust order, according to EU regulators.  The world’s most popular Internet search engine, a unit of Alphabet Inc., had earlier said it would meet the EU deadline to do so.  Google was hit with a record 2.4 billion euro fine from the EU over the practice in June and was ordered to come up with proposals to end the anti-competitive behavior.

Linde, Praxair Get Second Antitrust Request From FTC.  Linde and Praxair said they were responding to a second request from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding their planned $74 billion merger and were in a pre-notification phase with the European Commission.  The German and U.S. industrial gases groups said in a U.S. regulatory filing they still expected the all-share merger of equals, which is subject to antitrust review in approximately 24 jurisdictions, to close in the second half of 2018.  “This is a typical step in review of a transaction of this size, and was expected,” Linde said of the second request from the FTC.

German carmakers may face ‘very high’ cartel fines: EU’s Vestager.  German carmakers could face “very high” fines if suspicions of collusion prove true in court, European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told Business Insider.  But she said it was too soon to speculate on “the extent of possible sanctions and the timing of an EU Commission decision”, the online business news site cited her as saying.  European Union and German antitrust regulators are investigating whether VW, Porsche, Audi. BMW and Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler held meetings to discuss suppliers, prices and standards to the disadvantage of foreign carmakers.

Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

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