May 18, 2015

The Antitrust Week In Review

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

5 Big Banks Expected to Plead Guilty to Felony Charges, but Punishments May Be Tempered.  The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to announce that Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland will collectively pay several billion dollars and plead guilty to criminal antitrust violations for rigging the price of foreign currencies, according to sources.  Reportedly, the Justice Department is also preparing to resolve accusations of foreign currency misconduct at UBS.

Sports broadcast antitrust case may proceed as class action.  A federal judge ruled that television viewers may pursue a class-action lawsuit accusing Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Comcast Corp, DirecTV and other broadcasters of illegally restraining their ability to watch their favorite sports teams play.  U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said the viewers suffered from “a dearth of choice in the market for baseball and hockey broadcasting,” and that it made sense for them to pursue their claims as a group.  The court also found, however, that damages could not be pursued on a classwide basis.

Sysco may face about $1 billion in costs if US Foods merger dies.  Sysco Corp. will be left with a bill of around $1 billion if the Federal Trade Commission kills its $3.5 billion merger with US Foods, regulatory filings show, underscoring the perils of doing deals that have a good chance of being blocked by antitrust regulators.  According to a Reuters analysis of Sysco’s filings, the mammoth U.S. food distributor has spent more than $400 million so far on a combination of integration planning, financing charges and on defending the transaction in court.

EU Regulators to Decide on GE, Alstom Deal by August 21.  European Union antitrust regulators have resumed their investigation into General Electric’s 12.4-billion-euro bid for Alstom’s energy unit after receiving requested data from the U.S. conglomerate.  According to the European Commission, it will decide by Aug. 21, 2015, whether to clear the deal, General Electric’s biggest acquisition.

Leave a comment »

Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

    May 12, 2015

    UK Competition and Market Authority Shuts Down MasterCard and Visa Probes Following Approval of European Interchange Fees Regulation

    A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

    By Yulia Tosheva and James Ashe-Taylor

    The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced on Wednesday that it is closing its investigations into MasterCard’s and Visa’s multilateral interchange fees (“MIF”) on the grounds of administrative priorities.

    The CMA reached its UK domestic decision in light of the approval by the Council of the European Union of the long-awaited Interchange Fee Regulation (“IFR”) on April 20, 2015.  The IFR will become effective 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal.

    click here for more »

    Leave a comment »

    Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

      May 4, 2015

      The Antitrust Week In Review

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

      American Express told it cannot enforce anti-steering rules against merchants.  Merchants unhappy with the fees American Express charges them may steer customers toward less expensive cards without fearing retaliation from the credit card company, Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled in federal court in Brooklyn.  The court issued a written ruling enjoining American Express from blocking restaurants, stores and other merchants from offering discounts for using lower-fee cards.  Judge Garaufis ruled in February that American Express’ rules for merchants against such activity, known as steering, “imposed actual, concrete harms on competition in the credit and charge card network services market.”  Constantine Cannon represented various merchants in commenting on the remedy adopted by the court.

      Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron Call Off $10 Billion Merger.  Two of the world’s largest manufacturers of the machinery used to produce semiconductors, Applied Materials of the United States and Tokyo Electron of Japan, dropped a $10 billion deal to merge after the U.S. Department of Justice said that combining their businesses would restrict competition.  The companies failed to come up with a plan that could allay the federal regulators’ antitrust concerns about combining two of the three largest players in a sector crucial to the production of modern electronic devices, from smartphones to televisions.

      U.S. Supreme Court weighs accepting ProMedica antitrust case.  The U.S. Supreme Court is considering hearing a Federal Trade Commission case on whether Ohio-based health system ProMedica violated antitrust laws when it acquired financially struggling St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, Ohio.  Some legal experts say it’s unlikely the high court will agree to hear ProMedica’s appeal of a lower court ruling ordering it to divest the hospital.   Constantine Cannon partner Matthew Cantor commented that he does not “see novel legal issues that the court is going to want to consider.”  The widely watched appeal comes as hospitals considering consolidation fret about antitrust regulators’ increasingly aggressive approach.

      S.Korea antitrust body investigating Oracle for software bundling.  South Korea’s antitrust body is investigating U.S. database services provider Oracle for bundling its new software offerings into maintenance services contracts with customers.  Hwang Won-chul, a director of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, indicated that the antitrust regulator is investigating Oracle because its software bundling is seen  as limiting competition.

      Leave a comment »

      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

        April 20, 2015

        The Antitrust Week In Review

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

        Europe Challenges Google, Seeing Violations of Its Antitrust Law.  The European Union has formally accused Google of abusing its dominance in web searches, bringing charges that could limit the giant American tech company’s moneymaking prowess.  These are the first antitrust charges asserted against Google after a years-long face-off between the company and European regulators.  The EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, also announced that the EU has opened a formal antitrust investigation into the company’s Android smartphone software.

        U.S. Antitrust Lawyers Said Leaning Against Comcast Deal.  Staff attorneys at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice are close to recommending litigation to block Comcast’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable, according to reportedly knowledgeable sources.  Government attorneys who are investigating Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concern that consumers would be harmed, and could be days away from recommending to senior officials that the division file a federal lawsuit challenging the deal.

        Apple cooperation with antitrust monitor down ‘sharply’ – report.  Apple’s cooperation with a court-appointed monitor has “sharply declined” as he reviews the iPad maker’s antitrust compliance policies, the monitor has reported to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan.  Michael Bromwich, who became Apple’s monitor after it was found liable for conspiring to raise e-book prices, reported on Thursday that Apple objected to providing information and “inappropriately” attempted to limit his activities.

        Leave a comment »

        Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

          February 23, 2015

          The Antitrust Week In Review

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

          American Express Violated Antitrust Laws, Judge Rules.  In a 150-page opinion, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that American Express’s practice of prohibiting any merchant that accepts its cards from encouraging customers to pay with lower-cost cards violates the U.S. antitrust laws.  Constantine Cannon partner Jeffrey I. Shinder, who represented three retailers — Ikea, Sears and Crate & Barrel — that testified against American express in the case, predicted that the decision would give merchants greater clout to negotiate more favorable agreements with American Express, including cheaper fees.

          Google wins US antitrust lawsuit.  Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California dismissed an antitrust lawsuit that accused Google of forcing device manufacturers that use its Android operating system to include a bundle of the company’s apps and make its search engine the default option.  Although Judge Freeman found that “there are no facts alleged to indicate that defendant’s conduct has prevented consumers from freely choosing among search products or prevented competitors from innovating,” she also gave the plaintiffs a chance to correct this pleading deficiency by giving them three weeks to amend their antitrust complaint.

          In Russia, Yandex Files Antitrust Complaint Against Google Over Search On Android Devices.  Just as Google wins one antitrust battle in the U.S., a similar fight breaks out in Russia.  Internet search giant Yandex, which has been called the “Google of Russia,” has filed a request with Russia’s antimonopoly regulator to investigate whether Google has violated Russia’s antitrust laws.  Yandex is complaining about Google’s Android operating system and how Google bundles its search engine as the default on all Android devices.

          Leave a comment »

          Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation

            « Previous Entries  






            © 2009-2015 Constantine Cannon LLP. Attorney Advertising. Disclaimer.