Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
CVS Expands Into Insurance With $69 Billion Aetna Bid. CVS Health wants to do much more than fill your prescription or jab your arm with an annual flu shot. The drugstore chain is buying the nation’s third-largest health insurer in order to push much deeper into customer care. The evolution won’t happen overnight, but in time, shoppers may find more clinics in CVS stores and more health care they can receive through the network of nearly 10,000 locations that the company has built. But antitrust regulators still need to approve the deal, and that is not guarantee.
AT&T and Time Warner say proposed merger is ‘pro-consumer’. AT&T Inc and Time Warner Inc. argued on Tuesday that their proposed $85.4 billion merger was “pro-competitive” and “pro-consumer”, as they sought to refute U.S. Justice Department allegations that the deal breaks antitrust law. In a joint court filing, the companies focused on rebutting government efforts to show that AT&T, which owns pay-TV provider DirecTV, would raise rates for rival pay-TV companies to use Time Warner’s movies and TV shows. They also argued that the government was wrong to worry that the deal would hamper the development of online video.
Bayer says antitrust reviews going into ‘unimaginable depths’. The antitrust review of Bayer’s planned takeover of Monsanto is going into “unimaginable depths,” Bayer’s Chief Executive Werner Baumann said on Wednesday, but added he remained confident that the deal would be closed early next year. “To illustrate the point, we have by now delivered more than 4 million pages of documents to the EU commission,” Baumann told a conference. The reason for the intense scrutiny was a new focus by authorities on competition in research and development, and an effort to predict the effect on future product markets.
FCA Says Four Fund Firm May Have Breached Competition Law. Britain’s markets regulator said four asset management companies might have broken competition law during share sales in the first case that uses its antitrust enforcement powers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) alleges that Artemis Investment Management, Hargreave Hale, Newton Investment Management and River & Mercantile Asset Management shared information about how much they planned to pay for stock deals shortly before prices were officially set. Newton said it was cooperating with the FCA, that there had been no loss to any clients or investors as a result of the activity and that it did not anticipate any loss in the future.