Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Top U.S. antitrust official uncertain of need for four wireless carriers. The head of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, declined on Friday to support the Obama administration’s firm backing of the need for four U.S. wireless carriers. Asked about T-Mobile’s plan to buy Sprint for $26 billion, Delrahim declined to reiterate the view of President Barack Obama’s enforcers, who had said that four wireless carriers were needed. Instead, Delrahim told reporters, “I don’t think there’s any magical number that I’m smart enough to glean.”
Japan’s Maruyasu agrees to plead guilty in U.S. to bid rigging, other charges dropped. Japan’s Maruyasu Industries Co Ltd has agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of bid rigging, while other charges filed against it by the U.S. Justice Department were dropped, the company said on Thursday. The company was indicted in Ohio in 2016 on charges of rigging bids for steel tubes that automakers use in fuel distribution, braking and other parts of their cars. The indictments arose from a long-running international antitrust investigation of price fixing in the auto parts industry that has ensnared more than 40 companies and 60 people.
No antitrust probe for Lufthansa over fares after Air Berlin collapse. Lufthansa will not be investigated for market abuse over rising ticket prices following the collapse of local rival Air Berli, the German cartel office said on Tuesday. The watchdog had received complaints over high ticket prices and had been looking into the matter with a view to decide whether to instigate a full investigation. Air Berlin collapsed in October last year, leaving Lufthansa with a monopoly on some German domestic routes for a few months.
Bayer Wins Approval to Buy U.S. Seed and Agrichemical Giant Monsanto. Bayer won U.S. antitrust approval for its planned takeover of Monsanto on Tuesday on condition that it sell about $9 billion (6.8 billion pounds) in assets, the Justice Department said, clearing a major hurdle for the $62.5 billion deal.