Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. files complaint against three biggest dental supply firms. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Monday it had filed a complaint against the three largest U.S. dental supply companies, saying they had broken antitrust law. The FTC said that Benco Dental Supply, Henry Schein Inc. and Patterson Companies had conspired to refuse to serve or give discounts to dental buying groups. The three companies sell more than 85 percent of the $10 billion in gloves, cements, chairs and other products that U.S. dentists purchase each year, the FTC said. Buying groups representing small dental practices had asked the big dental product suppliers to aggregate sales to them and to negotiate prices, the FTC said.
AT&T Is Said to Want Antitrust Official on Witness List for Trial. AT&T is seeking to put the head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division on its witness list in a trial over the government’s decision to block the phone giant’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner, according to two people with knowledge of the pretrial activity. The company’s request for the antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, to testify is highly unusual. By putting Mr. Delrahim on the witness list, AT&T is effectively forcing him to defend his own decision to oppose the blockbuster merger. The trial over the Justice Department’s lawsuit to stop the deal is scheduled to begin on March 19.
Bayer petitions Russian antitrust watchdog for more time in Monsanto case. Bayer has taken Russia’s antitrust regulator to court over the watchdog’s investigation into the company’s planned takeover of Monsanto, a further hiccup in the $64 billion deal amid intense antitrust scrutiny. A Bayer spokesman said the German company was petitioning the court in Russia to be given more time to discuss demands made by the regulator about the deal, which would create the world’s largest seeds and pesticides company. “The parties are in dialogue but the agreement has not been reached yet. Bayer made a decision to bring the case to court in order to safeguard its juridical rights,” Bayer said in a written statement.
Qualcomm says open to more deal talks with Broadcom following meeting. Qualcomm Inc. on Friday called a meeting with Broadcom Ltd to discuss the latter’s $121 billion bid constructive and opened the door to more talks, but continued to reject the proposed deal between the semiconductor companies. Qualcomm’s response raises the stakes in a battle over what would be the technology sector’s largest-ever acquisition. The two companies have less than three weeks to negotiate a potential deal until Qualcomm shareholders are asked to vote on a challenge by Broadcom to Qualcomm’s board of directors. Qualcomm has been seeking to walk a fine line between resisting Broadcom’s acquisition approach, which it says undervalues it and is fraught with regulatory risks, and demonstrating to its shareholders and proxy advisory firms that it is willing to engage to secure a better deal if possible.