The Federal Trade Commission announced on Friday that Chairman Jon Leibowitz is planning to leave the Commission effective February 15. Leibowitz has chaired the agency since March 2009 and has been a commissioner since September 2004. Leibowitz did not offer any details of his plans following his departure from the agency.
When Leibowitz began serving as chairman, he anticipated continuity at the agency. He told attendees of the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. in March 2009 that he intended to build on the accomplishments of past FTC chairs.
Leibowitz’s tenure was marked by consistency. There were a number of significant accomplishmen [...]
The Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the now-abandoned merger between Integrated Device Technologies and PLX Technology was the topic of remarks delivered by FTC Commissioner Julie Brill at Skadden’s and Compass/Lexecon’s annual “Antitrust in the Technology Sector” program in Palo Alto, California, on January 28. “The issues raised by IDT/PLX spanned the Merger Guidelines,” Brill said.
In December 2012, the FTC issued an administrative complaint seeking to prevent Integrated Device Technology’s proposed $330 million acquisition of PLX Technology, Inc. The FTC’s complaint alleged that the combined company would possess a near-monopoly on the production of PCIe swit [...]
In order to assert an antitrust injury, a plaintiff needs to be a consumer or a competitor in the restrained market, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled yesterday. If a company makes the choice not to compete, then it will lack standing to pursue antitrust claims.
Ethypharm S.A. France, a French pharmaceutical company, brought an antitrust action in 2008 against Abbott Laboratories. Ethypharm alleged that the failure of its branded fenofibrate drug, Antara, to compete with TriCor, which was developed by a French company named Laboratories Fournier and distributed by Abbott in the United States, was a direct result of Abbott’s anticompetitive conduct.
Ethypharm did not sell A [...]
The Senate late on January 1 confirmed Joshua D. Wright to serve as an FTC commissioner. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee issued a statement on January 2, saying that Wright’s nomination, among others, had been discharged from the Committee and confirmed by the Senate.
Wright will replace FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch—a fellow Republican—whose term expired in September. The White House announced the intended nomination on September 10.
The George Mason University (GMU) Law Professor was confirmed despite tough questioning at a Commerce Committee hearing on December 4. Wright, an economist, has written extensively on antitrust law and economics and is a re [...]
The U.S. Senate today confirmed William Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. The vote was 64 to 26.
Baer was nominated by the President on February 6. His nomination was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 20.
“Bill is a highly-skilled and well-respected antitrust lawyer who understands the importance of promoting competition in order for consumers to reap the benefits of lower prices and better quality products and services,” said Attorney General Holder in a December 30 statement, welcoming the confirmation. “I have no doubt that he will lead the Antitrust Division effectively in its vigorous enf [...]
George Mason University Law Professor Joshua D. Wright faced tough questions from members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Tuesday afternoon as the committee considered his nomination to serve on the FTC.
A vote on the nomination is expected as early as next week. If confirmed, Wright would replace Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch—a fellow Republican—whose term expired in September. Rosch has publicly stated that he will remain at the Commission until his replacement is confirmed and sworn in.
Wright, an economist, has written extensively on antitrust law and economics and is a regular contributor to the Truth on the Market blog. Some of those writings have [...]
Online marketplace eBay, Inc. has been charged by the Department of Justice with entering into an agreement with business and financial management solutions provider Intuit, Inc. not to hire each other’s employees. On Friday, the Justice Department filed an 11-page civil antitrust complaint against eBay in the federal district court in San Jose, California.
The complaint details a naked no-solicitation and no-hire agreement reached at the highest levels of the companies. Meg Whitman, then eBay’s CEO, and Scott Cook, Intuit’s founder and executive committee chair, were allegedly involved in forming, monitoring, and enforcing the pact.
According to the government, the agreement barred e [...]
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 [...]