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Financial Times  Oct 28  Comment 
Battle with US tech giant may define the legacy of Europe’s outgoing antitrust enforcer
Wall Street Journal  Oct 28  Comment 
Burger King Worldwide planned purchase of Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons cleared one regulatory hurdle when Canada’s antitrust watchdog gave the proposed tie-up the green light. The $11 billion deal remains subject to other...
Financial Times  Oct 24  Comment 
Mexican telecoms group under pressure over antitrust rules
Automotive World  Oct 23  Comment 
First safety concerns, now anti-trust objections regarding automotive refrigerant HFO-1234yf. The road towards cleaner car coolants in Europe is leaving the key players hot and bothered. The post Coolant controversy resurfaces with anti-trust...
Financial Times  Oct 21  Comment 
Collaboration over coolant to meet emissions rules falls foul
Jutia Group  Oct 20  Comment 
[Reuters] - The top two lawmakers on the Senate's antitrust panel have urged regulators to scrutinize food distributor Sysco Corp's planned purchase of rival U.S. In a letter obtained exclusively by Reuters, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee,...
Reuters  Oct 20  Comment 
The top two lawmakers on the Senate's antitrust panel have urged regulators to scrutinize food distributor Sysco Corp's planned purchase of rival U.S. Foods for $3.5...




 
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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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