What would likely be the last major acquisition in the car rental industry may soon be completed, with the blessing of the Federal Trade Commission. The pending acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. by Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., currently under review by the FTC, would cement the positions of the three major car rental companies by combining the second and fourth largest competitors.
Completion of the transaction would bring to a close years of consolidation in the industry. Antitrust approval of a combination of any of the three remaining firms—Enterprise Holdings, Inc., Avis Budget Group, Inc., and Hertz—would be highly unlikely.
Hertz announced on October 18 that it [...]
The federal district court in New York City yesterday denied a “consumer’s” motion to intervene in the Justice Department’s action against Apple, Inc. and five publishers for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for electronic books or “e-books.” The motion was filed by Bob Kohn for the purpose of appealing from a September 6 final judgment ((CCH) 2012-2 Trade Cases ¶78,042), resolving the government’s antitrust allegations against three of the five publishers.
Kohn describes himself as a “consumer of digital goods, author of a treatise on copyright, and founder and CEO of technology companies directly involved in the digital distribution of music and e-books,” the court explained. He gain [...]
Yesterday, the federal district court in San Francisco imposed a record-tying $500 million fine on AU Optronics Corporation (AUO), a Taiwan-based liquid crystal display (LCD) producer, for its participation in a five-year conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor LCD panels. The company and its U.S. subsidiary also were placed on probation for three years and ordered to implement antitrust compliance programs.
The sentencing follows a jury’s conviction in March 2012 of AU Optronics Corporation, AU Optronics Corporation America, and two high-level executives–Hsuan Bin Chen, and Hui Hsiung.
Joseph Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice An [...]
George Mason University (GMU) Law Professor Joshua D. Wright has been picked by the Obama Administration to replace Federal Trade Commission member J. Thomas Rosch—a fellow Republican—whose term expires later this month. The White House announced the intended nomination on September 10.
In addition to serving as a professor at GMU School of Law and holding a courtesy appointment in the Department of Economics, Wright is the Research Director and a Member of the Board of Directors of the think tank International Center for Law & Economics. He has written extensively on antitrust law and economics and is a regular contributor to Truth on the Market blog. Wright previously served as the ina [...]
The federal district court in New York City yesterday approved a U.S. consent decree that resolves U.S. Department of Justice allegations against three publishers for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices for electronic books or “e-books.” The consent decree with Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., and Simon & Schuster, Inc. was found to be in the public interest.
The government alleged that the three settling publishers and two non-settling publishers–MacMillan and Penguin Group–acted collectively to switch to a new sales model for e-books known as the “agency model” and entered into functionally-identical agreements with non-settling defendant Apple, Inc., wh [...]
The Department of Justice will not challenge a proposed acquisition by Verizon Wireless of a significant portfolio of wireless spectrum licenses from a consortium of four cable companies and the subsequent transfer of a significant amount of that spectrum to T-Mobile USA; however, the parties will be required to modify separate marketing agreements to settle charges that they would, if left unaltered, harm competition by diminishing the companies’ incentive to compete. Verizon is one of the nation’s largest providers of wireline telecommunications services, including both video and broadband services as well as bundles that contain those products.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the S [...]
Earlier this week, bi-partisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to protect from employment discrimination employees, contractors, sub-contractors, or agents who report antitrust violations to the federal government. The proposed “Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act” (S. 3462) was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (Vermont) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on July 31.
The legislation would amend the “Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004″ to prohibit discrimination against a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment. It would allow an employee who believes that retaliation has occ [...]
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of William Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Baer was nominated in February, shortly after then Acting Assistant Attorney General Sharis Pozen announced her intention to resign effective as of April 30.
“Antitrust enforcement is best when it has a sound analytical foundation and when it focuses on behavior that poses serious risk of economic harm to the American people,” said Baer in his opening remarks at the July 26 hearing. He pledged to work with the Antitrust Division’s staff to pursue enforcement policies “that are vigorous, th [...]
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for next Thursday on the nomination of William Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. The hearing, will be held at 1:00 p.m. on July 26. It will be chaired by Senator Herb Kohl (Wisconsin), chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee.
Baer is currently the head of the antitrust group at the Washington, D.C. office of Arnold & Porter, LLP. He is a former director of the FTC Bureau of Competition. While at the FTC, he also served as assistant general counsel and director of congressional relations and as an attorney advisor to the Chairman. He began his le [...]
Reverse payments settlements between patent holders and would-be generic competitors in the pharmaceutical industry should be reviewed under a “quick look” rule of reason analysis based on the economic realities of the reverse payment settlement, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled today.
The appellate court decided that wholesalers and retailers who purchased a brand-name sustained-release potassium chloride supplement (K-Dur) used to treat high blood pressure could proceed with an antitrust challenge to patent infringement litigation settlement agreements between Schering-Plough Corporation — the manufacturer of K-Dur — and generic drug companies. The purchasers alleged tha [...]