Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Google offers to treat rivals equally via auction –sources. Google has offered to display rival comparison shopping sites via an auction, as it aims to stave off further EU antitrust fines, four people familiar with the matter said. Google is under pressure to come up with a big initiative to level the playing field in comparison shopping, but its proposal was roundly criticised by competitors as inadequate, the sources said. EU enforcers see the antitrust case as a benchmark for investigations of other areas dominated by the U.S. search giant, such as travel and online mapping.
Walgreens, Rite Aid Trim Store Purchase Deal to $4.38B. Walgreens and Rite Aid have finally devised a deal between the nation’s largest and third-largest drugstore chains that will get past antitrust regulators. The companies said Tuesday that they have Federal Trade Commission clearance for a slimmer version of a store-purchase agreement announced in June. Walgreens will now spend $4.38 billion on 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and inventory.
Democratic senator lifts hold on Trump antitrust nominee –aide. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has lifted her hold on President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, a move that will allow the Senate to vote to confirm Makan Delrahim, a senior Republican aide said on Friday. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, had met with Delrahim early in September where she pressed him about her concerns about lobbying and political interference in antitrust. Delrahim, a veteran of the Justice Department and a lobbyist, has been nominated to be assistant attorney general.
Bayer dismisses antitrust concerns about digital farming. Bayer said it was unable to propose the sale of any digital farming assets to allay EU concerns about its planned $66 billion takeover of Monsanto. The European Commission last month started an in-depth investigation into the German group’s plan to acquire the U.S. seeds maker. Among its concerns, the regulator took issue with Bayer’s plan to create combined offerings of seeds and pesticides with the help of new digital farming tools, such as connected sensors, software and precision machines.