GCR USA - 21 March 2018
Judge Richard Leon joked in court yesterday that Washington, DC, is not Burlington, Vermont. After forecasts of three to six inches of snow for Wednesday, he decided to postpone opening arguments in the Department of Justice’s challenge to the AT&T/Time Warner merger to Thursday morning. For now, check out our coverage from a full final day of evidentiary proceedings that focused on efficiencies; a decision from the International Trade Commission; and the antitrust angle to the Facebook scandal over Cambridge Analytica.
GCR USA - 20 March 2018
We are in court again listening to the second day of objections in the DOJ’s suit to block the AT&T/Time Warner merger. The parties seemed to work through the majority of the objections yesterday and with Judge Richard Leon telling them to take Monday evening to work out what should – and should not – remain confidential, we are hoping for smooth sailing in today’s proceedings.
GCR USA - 19 March 2018
We are in the courtroom today and tomorrow listening to objections in the Department of Justice’s suit against AT&T/Time Warner. Last week the litigants provided Judge Richard Leon with a long list of 200 different objections, but promised to whittle them down during the weekend. Meanwhile, the DOJ’s antitrust boss Makan Delrahim on Friday stated an approach to intellectual property in which hold-up is seen as not only unlikely, but fundamentally not an antitrust issue, and a refusal to license is per se legal. See News & Notes for the technology company that he particularly criticised.
GCR USA - 16 March 2018
We are on the Hill today for the next briefing by the Congressional Antitrust Caucus, this time on the subject of how concentrated economic power affects political inequality. Caucus members and congressmen attending include Mark Pocan, Rick Nolan, Keith Ellison and David Cicilline, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives’ antitrust subcommittee. Speakers include Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, Open Markets Institute executive director Barry Lynn, and Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, who made a strong run at the New York Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014. But our ears are still burning from the final AT&T pre-trial conference – see News & Notes for more.
GCR USA - 15 March 2018
The head of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division yesterday likened antitrust enforcement-replacing regulation to a boa constrictor, warning that it – and the regulators that implement it – “slowly, and painfully, squeeze competition from the free market”. Meanwhile, three dental equipment suppliers accused of colluding to withhold discounts from buying groups attended the Federal Trade Commission’s internal tribunal yesterday, where they denied the allegations and criticised the FTC for taking evidence out of context. And yet the European Commission’s chief competition economist thinks the US is not active in antitrust enforcement – check out News & Notes for more.
GCR USA - 14 March 2018
AT&T and Time Warner have won a last-minute dispute about whether they could present certain favourable testimony at trial to litigate the fix and alleviate concerns their deal is anticompetitive. Meanwhile, the Broadcom/Qualcomm soap opera has seemingly come to an abrupt end after President Donald Trump used his authority to quash the deal citing national security concerns.
GCR USA - 13 March 2018
The efficacy of behavioural remedies is at the heart of our lead story today. An attorney who has represented channels fighting Comcast since 2011 says the Department of Justice should think twice before using them, while a notable economist has argued otherwise. In another closely-watched deal, look out later today for our coverage of President Donald Trump’s order blocking the proposed takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom.
GCR USA - 12 March 2018
As the US v AT&T trial approaches, the merging companies and the Department of Justice have each filed their briefs. So too has a group of ex-DOJ prosecutors including Preet Bharara, who filed as amici and called for Judge Richard Leon to give AT&T and Time Warner access to any communications that might indicate White House influence on the decision to challenge the deal. Former Antitrust Division lawyers, however, are not supportive of the amicus brief, to put it mildly.
GCR USA - 09 March 2018
Expert discovery closes and pre-trial motions and briefs are due today in the Department of Justice’s challenge to the AT&T/Time Warner merger, but our eyes are on another vertical mega-merger: Cigna’s $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts. The companies announced the deal a day after the head of the Food and Drug Administration expressed concerns about the existing consolidation of pharmacy benefit managers and of PBMs teaming up with payors – ie insurers – to avoid passing the benefits of competition on to patients and employers.
GCR USA - 08 March 2018
Fresh from its victory over Smuckers’ attempted acquisition of Wesson oil, the Federal Trade Commission has gotten Envision Healthcare subsidiary AMR to say goodbye to aircraft and ambulances in Hawaii, so it can say hello to an acquisition by KKR’s Air Medical Group.
Cormac O'Daly and Frédéric Louis
Joseph Ostoyich, Erik Koons and William Lavery
Baker Botts LLP
Satyen Dhana, Christine Graham and Jacqueline Vallat
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP (London)