RECENT NEWS
Reuters  May 12  Comment 
Italy's antitrust watchdog said on Friday it was imposing a 3 million-euro ($3.3 million) fine on messaging service Whatsapp for allegedly obliging users to agree to sharing their personal data with its parent company Facebook.
Financial Times  May 10  Comment 
Talks to sell unit to Capita pulled after CMA poised to extend investigation
Benzinga  May 9  Comment 
That must really sting. Bumble Bee Foods, LLC agreed to plead guilty and pay a $25 million criminal fine for conspiring to “fix, raise and maintain prices of packaged seafood” from 2011 to 2013, the U.S. Justice Department said Monday. The...
Wall Street Journal  May 8  Comment 
Retailers are using artificial-intelligence software to set optimal prices, which are sometimes higher than competitors. Some antitrust experts say such systems could raise prices for consumers.
Wall Street Journal  May 5  Comment 
Anthem said it would petition the Supreme Court to review the antitrust rulings blocking its acquisition of Cigna, a long-shot bid to revive a $48 billion deal amid litigation between the two companies.
Reuters  May 4  Comment 
The European Commission said on Thursday it had accepted commitments by U.S. online retailer Amazon to alter its e-book contracts with publishers to end an EU antitrust investigation.
Reuters  May 3  Comment 
Perrigo Company Plc said that search warrants were executed at its corporate offices linked to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
MarketWatch  May 2  Comment 
Monsanto Co. said late Monday it's no longer pursuing a deal to sell its crop-planting equipment business to Deere & Co. following delays resulting from Justice Department concerns. Back in November 2015, Monsanto's Climate Corp. subsidiary...
MarketWatch  May 1  Comment 
Monsanto Co. said late Monday it's no longer pursuing a deal to acquire a crop-planting equipment business from Deere & Co. following delays resulting from Justice Department concerns. Back in November 2015, Monsanto's Climate Corp. subsidiary...




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS


US antitrust legislation or "competition law" focuses on three kinds of activity discouraging to competition: monopoly, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and price fixing.

Monopolies and M&A are both regulated to keep companies from becoming too large or powerful within a single or a few industry sectors. M&A activity is particularly worth noting: many industries have been undergoing a phase of general consolidation in the past few years, and U.S. M&A activity has risen more than 31% since 2005 (2006 saw more than US$ 1.5 trillion's worth of activity). Price fixing is also carefully watched to prevent some companies from gaining an "unfair" advantage; antritrust lawsuits in this category tend to target cartels (groups of nominally independent companies that try to artificially establish relatively high prices by agreement across a number of market players).

U.S. Democrats are traditionally harder on antitrust than their Republican counterparts, and the 2008 presidential election will play an important part in determining the strength of the next round of antitrust legislation. In naming his new attorney general and head of the Federal Trade Commission, the new president will heavily influence the political leanings of the two departments with the most control over the outcome of antitrust lawsuits: the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Antitrust Losers

  • TXU and other large utility companies are at risk of antitrust lawsuits for various price-fixing or merger/acquisitions practices. The utilities sector is a particularly common antiturst target because of the high fixed costs/barrier to entry.
    • Telephony/communications, oil, chemicals manufacturing, banking, and cable industries are also strongly at risk for antitrust lawsuits.
  • Microsoft, Apple, and recently even Google are examples of companies that are dominant enough in an industry that any further merger/acquisitions activity is immediately under antitrust activity.

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Antitrust Winners

Legal and economic advisory firms like FTI Consulting, LECG, CRA International, Navigant Consulting, and Huron Consulting Group stand to benefit in all antitrust cases, as they assist parties on both sides by providing trial support services and expert testimony.

To Be Determined

  • XM and Sirius entered into a merger agreement in March 2007 which would leave only one company in the U.S. satellite radio business. Given that neither company has ever generated positive income, a combined company would likely eliminate overlapping costs and optimize operating efficiency. The companies argue against anti-trust worries, claiming their merged company would face heavy competition from traditional radio companies such as Clear Channel Communications (CCU) and CBS (CBS) as well as other audio options for consumers, such as iPods. It wasn't until July 29, 2008, that the two parent companies were able to have completed the long awaited merger. This meant that Sirius Satellite Radio had completed its acquisition of XM Satellite Radio and combining the two radio services to create a single satellite radio network in the United States.This merger brought the combined companies an approximate total of more than 18.5 million subscribers based on current subscriber numbers on the date of merging.
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