September 18, 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.

Google challenges record EU antitrust fine in court.  Google appealed on Monday against a record 2.4-billion-euro ($2.9 billion) EU antitrust fine, with its chances of success boosted by Intel’s partial victory last week against another EU sanction.  The world’s most popular Internet search engine, a unit of the U.S. firm Alphabet, launched its appeal two months after it was fined by the European Commission for abusing its dominance in Europe by giving prominent placement in searches to its comparison shopping service and demoting rival offerings.  The Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest, is expected to take several years before ruling on the appeal.

Murdoch Bid for Sky Control Hits New Bump as U.K. Official Hints at Inquiry.  Britain’s culture minister said on Tuesday that she was inclined to ask the country’s competition regulator to carry out a detailed review of a bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to take full control of the British satellite television giant Sky.  In an address to Parliament, the minister, Karen Bradley, said she was “minded” to refer the $15 billion deal to the Competition and Markets Authority for a more intensive inquiry into concerns about whether Fox would uphold broadcast standards in Britain and whether owning all of Sky would give it too much control of the British media.

FTC Head Pushes Back on Calls to Expand Antitrust Law.  Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen is emerging as a vocal defender of existing U.S. antitrust laws amid calls for sweeping changes to rein in dominant technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.  Ohlhausen is delivering speeches this week that reinforce the government’s decades-old antitrust enforcement approach, which focuses strictly on markets and prices.  She is pushing back against public pressure to stop companies from becoming too powerful or to address social problems like wage stagnation.

Exclusive: AT&T weighs divestiture of Latin American TV assets – sources.  AT&T is evaluating a sale of its pay TV operations in Latin America as it seeks to pay down debt following its planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (TWX.N), people familiar with the matter said on Friday.  AT&T is working with a financial adviser to field interest in the assets, which could be valued at more than $8 billion, the people added, asking not to be named because the matter is private.  Liberty Global PLC, Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica SA and Millicom International Cellular SA,  a wireless player in Latin America, are some of the companies that could express interest in all or parts of AT&T’s Latin American markets, according to the people.

Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

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