Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
AT&T vs. Disney: How the Trump Administration May View 2 Mega-Mergers. AT&T’s proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner would normally have had a good chance of passing muster with antitrust officials in Washington. Disney’s bid to purchase 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion, on the other hand, would have had a smaller chance. But in a break from the norm, the Justice Department has sued to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal, and has so far remained silent on the Disney-Fox deal.
EU antitrust official sees competition threat if mergers lead to high margins. EU regulators are keeping tabs on high profit margins enjoyed by companies that are merging, concerned this may threaten competition, a senior EU antitrust official warned on Tuesday. The comments by Chief Competition Economist Tommaso Valletti underline current unease among antitrust enforcers on both sides of the Atlantic about whether they have gone too far in allowing a recent wave of mergers and acquisitions. Some have resulted in significant price hikes, to the detriment of consumers.
U.S. employers say CVS-Aetna deal would affect health-benefits decisions: survey. CVS Corp.’s proposed purchase of Aetna Inc. will affect decision-making by a majority of large and mid-size U.S. corporations on employee health benefits, a survey by benefits consultant Aon Plc found. CVS, the second-largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager, on Dec. 3 said it agreed to buy No. 3 health insurer Aetna for $69 billion. Reuters reported earlier this month that the deal would change the way top U.S. employers contract health benefits, based on early feedback from benefits consultants.