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US: Highlights of DOJ’s antitrust division’s recent cases

 |  July 7, 2019

Makan Delrahim’s two years in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division have been filled with headlines, reported The Wall Street Journal. Some highlights:

AT&T ’s Time Warner acquisition—The department sued to challenge this deal, arguing it would suppress competition in the pay-TV industry. A federal judge thought otherwise and allowed the merger after a six-week trial. President Trump opposed the deal, and AT&T questioned whether the lawsuit was politically motivated, a claim Mr. Delrahim denied.

CVS -Aetna—The department allowed this health-industry merger after the companies sold off Medicare-related assets. But a judge—the same from the AT&T case—this time questioned why the department wasn’t more aggressive. Proceedings are continuing.

Bayer -Monsanto—The department gave this combination a green light after Bayer agreed to sell off about $9 billion in assets, the largest divestiture ever in a U.S. merger-approval settlement.

The Oscars—The antitrust division warned the body that presents the Academy Awards that a proposed rule change designed to exclude Netflix could raise antitrust concerns. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ultimately decided against making a change.

International antitrust rules—Mr. Delrahim and the department were central in brokering a new global agreement designed to make antitrust enforcement more transparent, predictable and consistent across international jurisdictions. More than 60 countries have signed on.

Revisiting old settlements—The department is moving to terminate or modify dozens of long-ago antitrust decrees that remain on the books, including settlements between the government and the movie and music industries that still set rules for competition today.

T-Mobile – Sprint —The antitrust division has spent more than a year considering the proposed merger of the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers. A federal communications regulator favors the deal, but the Justice Department has voiced concerns, which the companies are seeking to address through asset sales, perhaps to Dish Network, that could create a new competitor.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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