RECENT NEWS
Insurance Journal  May 5  Comment 
Bill Baer was the ultimate Washington antitrust insider when he came to the Justice Department in 2013: At law firm Arnold & Porter LLP, he’d counseled the biggest U.S. companies, including deal machine General Electric Co., on getting mergers...
Reuters  May 3  Comment 
Anti-trust concerns are preventing corporations from pursuing mergers more than other broad regulatory or economic issues, several senior investment bankers said during a...
Financial Times  May 2  Comment 
Antitrust body says group engaged in ‘predatory pricing’ but utility might appeal in courts
Reuters  Apr 28  Comment 
KeyCorp and First Niagara Financial Group Inc will sell 18 First Niagara branches in and around Buffalo, New York, to resolve antitrust concerns tied to KeyCorp's...
Reuters  Apr 28  Comment 
* Says there is a $200 million reverse break up fee related to receiving antitrust approval for Dreamworks deal - Sec filing
Financial Times  Apr 27  Comment 
Logic of ‘market repair’ comes up against the antitrust argument
Financial Times  Apr 26  Comment 
Photo agency complaint over ‘scraping’ opens potential new front of EU antitrust action
Reuters  Apr 25  Comment 
Beverage can makers Ball Corp and Rexam Plc will sell some of their assets to European packaging maker Ardagh Group in a deal worth $3.42 billion, as they seek antitrust...
Reuters  Apr 24  Comment 
Toshiba Corp, in a hurry to raise cash before closing its books for the business year that ended at the end of last month, was able to structure the sale of its medical...




 
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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