March 12, 2018

The Antitrust Week In Review

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

U.S. Justice Department, AT&T spar over merger in final pre-trial documents.  The U.S. Justice Department and AT&T Inc. on Friday presented starkly different futures for online video if the wireless and pay-TV giant is allowed to buy Time Warner Inc., as they laid out their cases for a blockbuster antitrust trial.  The judge’s decision is crucial to the future of both companies and will likely determine how aggressive Republican-controlled antitrust regulators will be in coming years.  U.S. President Donald Trump opposes the deal, and critics want to know if Trump’s antipathy for Time Warner’s CNN news network influenced regulators.

Broadcom’s Other Regulatory Hurdle: How It Treats Customers.  Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for the rival computer chip maker Qualcomm is being investigated by a federal government committee concerned about giving foreign countries power over American technology vital to national security.  But some people in the technology industry believe Broadcom’s chief executive, Hock Tan, already wields too much power of a different kind, as illustrated by a harshly worded two-page document in a San Francisco court file.  The document comes from Western Digital, the largest supplier of computer disk drives, which complained Broadcom had stopped shipping essential chips called preamplifiers to Western Digital.  The reason?  Broadcom, the document said, was retaliating because Western Digital had considered another supplier’s products.

Impax to pay $35 mln to settle part of Solodyn antitrust litigation.  Impax Laboratories Inc. has agreed to pay $35 million to resolve part of litigation over claims it entered into an anticompetitive deal in a patent case to delay releasing a generic version of the acne medication Solodyn.  The settlement was disclosed in papers filed in federal court in Boston on Saturday.  It resolved part of the antitrust litigation Impax faces over Solodyn related to sales of the drug to direct purchasers such as retailers and wholesalers.

BASF seeks EU antitrust approval to buy Bayer assets.  Germany’s BASF has asked for European Commission approval to buy assets from drugmaker Bayer, the company which needs to shed businesses to get clearance for its $63.5 billion merger with Monsanto, a filing showed.  The Commission, which gave no further details on the deal being examined, set a preliminary deadline of April 16 to decide on the matter.  The Commission, which acts as competition watchdog in the European Union, added its assessment of the BASF request did not automatically mean it was satisfied with the commitments made by Bayer.

Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

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