USA Tipline

The stuff of nightmares: The Tipline for 28 January 2020

GCR USA - 28 January 2020

The Antitrust Division opened its case against Sabre/Farelogix yesterday, calling as witnesses two airline executives who attacked the deal in no uncertain terms. United Airlines executive Tye Radcliffe said that when he heard about the merger he told others in the company it was “the stuff of nightmares but we’ll get through it”. We have Federal Trade Commission news as well: the agency brought a lawsuit with New York attorney general Letitia James against Vyera Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli and another executive alleging the company blocked generic rivals from gaining access to samples.

Sabre in Delaware: The Tipline for 27 January 2020

GCR USA - 27 January 2020

The Department of Justice goes to trial in Delaware today seeking to block travel technology company Sabre’s purchase of Farelogix. The DOJ claims that Sabre is buying up a disruptive competitor while Sabre says it does not compete directly with Farelogix. We’ll have updates from each day of the trial, which is scheduled to run until next Thursday. Meanwhile, digital telecommunications technology company United American is preparing for trial against Bitmain and Bitcoin.com in a Florida federal court, alleging manipulation of a cryptocurrency market.

Fare competition: The Tipline for 24 January 2020

GCR USA - 24 January 2020

Trial in the Department of Justice’s case against travel booking technology company Sabre’s purchase of Farelogix begins on Monday. We have previews of the government’s case and Sabre’s defence. Fittingly, we also have a report from a teleconference where a lawyer from the Federal Trade Commission explained how the other US antitrust agency reviews acquisitions of nascent competitors. Keep scrolling down for updates on two private lawsuits against dominant companies in their respective industries: one against large academic book publishers and booksellers brought by independent bookshops, and one against Google brought by a digital advertising platform.

The government always wins: The Tipline for 23 January 2020

GCR USA - 23 January 2020

Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart would have turned 105 today. His definition of obscenity – “I know it when I see it” – has been passed down through the ages, but it is not to be overshadowed by his dissenting opinion in Vons Grocery. There, he took issue with the court’s seven-to-one order finding that a joint operating agreement between two Arizona newspapers violated federal antitrust laws. In an earlier case, Justice Stewart said the sole consistency he could find in litigation brought under section 7 of the Clayton Act is that “the government always wins.” Congress has since given newspapers antitrust exemptions for joint operating agreements.

Happy birthday Judge Schofield: The Tipline for 22 January 2020

GCR USA - 22 January 2020

Judge Lorna Schofield of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York turns 64 today. While antitrust was not a focus during her time as a private practitioner, she has become well-acquainted with its intricacies since taking the bench in late 2012. Judge Schofield has presided over the Foreign Currency Exchange antitrust litigation, and over US Airways’s claims that Sabre participated in a conspiracy to raise commission costs.

All eyes on Capitol Hill: The Tipline for 21 January 2020

GCR USA - 21 January 2020

After the holiday for Martin Luther King Jr Day, Congress is back in action. The American Booksellers Association’s antitrust conference seeks to trump all other news on Capitol Hill today, and GCR USA will have you covered tomorrow on what will surely be the talk of the town.

The FTC is doing this for your health: The Tipline for 17 January 2020

GCR USA - 17 January 2020

Federal Trade Commission member Christine Wilson warned yesterday that antitrust enforcement cannot solve all problems in healthcare. One day earlier, in oral argument before a federal appeals court, her agency defended the scope of its authority to conduct that enforcement. Judge Thomas Hardiman warned at the outset that the argument might go into extra innings – and indeed it did, running longer than two hours. We also have updates on a class action filed by app developers against Facebook; a federal court's ruling in favour of AmEx; and a Supreme Court amicus brief in support of Google.

50+ antitrust agencies: The Tipline for 16 January 2020

GCR USA - 16 January 2020

Most countries have only a single agency responsible for conducting antitrust enforcement, but the US has more than 50. In recent years, the US state attorneys general have played a more forceful role in the realm of competition enforcement – best evidenced by a challenge to the T-Mobile/Sprint merger brought by a coalition of states independent from federal enforcers. Assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that a state victory would create “major uncertainty in M&A.” Meanwhile, New York attorney general Letitia James said she did not know if state-only challenges would become a pattern, but she defended their sovereign powers. “As you know, the [state] attorneys general historically have been involved in antitrust cases and we will continue to look at mergers all across this nation in a wide range of industries that are anticompetitive and that hurt consumers”.

Always be closing: The Tipline for 15 January 2020

GCR USA - 15 January 2020

The T-Mobile/Sprint merger trial heads to the ninth inning today. Only Judge Victor Marrero knows the score going in as the merging companies and a coalition of states make their final arguments before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. But similar to baseball, litigation can feel like an endless pastime and extra innings may very well be in order. For the integrity of the game and the sake of the court, let us hope nobody is out there signalling what pitch is coming by battering the lid of a trash can.

No surprises: The Tipline for 14 January 2020

GCR USA - 14 January 2020

Louisiana State University was crowned college football’s national champion last night. No surprises there, as the team was the favourite in the championship game against Clemson University. The draft vertical merger guidelines the US antitrust agencies issued on Friday also offered few surprises, antitrust practitioners told GCR USA. We have detailed reactions to the draft guidelines, plus Post Holdings and Treehouse Foods abandoning their merger and an update on the Generic Pharmaceuticals Pricing litigation.