July 30, 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.

Several banks dismissed from U.S. metals price-fixing lawsuits.  A U.S. judge has dismissed five large banks from two antitrust lawsuits by investors alleging multi-year conspiracies to rig prices for hundreds of billions of dollars of transactions in the global silver and gold markets. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni threw out all claims over alleged silver price-fixing against Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Standard Chartered Plc and UBS Group AG. The Manhattan judge also dismissed UBS from the gold-fixing case.

NXP’s Chief Criticizes China After Qualcomm Deal Collapses.  The finger-pointing over the scuttled $44 billion transaction between the chip makers Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors has begun. Richard Clemmer, chief executive of NXP, had some harsh words on Thursday for officials in China over the deal’s collapse amid a trade war between Washington and Beijing. The acquisition was terminated after it failed to secure regulatory approval from Chinese authorities before a deadline set by the companies at midnight Eastern time on Wednesday.

EU fines Philips, Asus, Pioneer, Denon & Marantz total 111 mln euros.  EU antitrust authorities handed down a total fine of 111.2 million euros ($130.1 million) to Philips, Pioneer, Asus and Denon & Marantz on Tuesday for fixing online resale prices. The European Commission opened an investigation into the four companies in February last year as part of its crackdown against curbs on online sales across-borders, such as restricting offers based on a customer’s location or nationality. The EU competition enforcer said the companies engaged in “fixed or minimum resale price maintenance” by restricting the ability of their online retailers to set their own retail prices for widely used consumer electronics products such as kitchen appliances, notebooks and hi-fi products.

Blackstone wins EU approval to buy Thomson Reuters unit.  U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group has secured EU antitrust approval to acquire a majority stake in Thomson Reuters’ Financial and Risk unit, the European Commission said on Monday. Blackstone is making its biggest bet since the financial crisis with the $20 billion deal which pits co-founder Stephen Schwarzman against fellow billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Much like Thomson Reuters, Blackstone’s portfolio company Ipreo also provides financial information products to financial market professionals. The EU enforcer said it did not see any competition concerns despite the overlaps between the two companies.

Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

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