USA Tipline

Never “sold out”: The Tipline for 2 December 2019

GCR USA - 02 December 2019

The founder and chief executive of Viagogo, Eric Baker, is purchasing a rival ticket reseller he also helped to found – StubHub. The purchase from eBay could pose some interesting questions for US enforcers evaluating an industry that some competition observers say has become dominated by Ticketmaster, which has also dipped into the secondary ticketing market.

Giving thanks: The Tipline for 26 November 2019

GCR USA - 26 November 2019

GCR USA wants to be among the first to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. We will be off for the holiday until Monday, when we’ll be back in your inbox with a fresh tipline – no leftovers.

Convictions: The Tipline for 25 November 2019

GCR USA - 25 November 2019

The Department of Justice’s second attempt at securing a conviction at trial for conduct in currency exchange proved successful last week. The two trials the agency brought before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York significantly overlapped, but antitrust practitioners told GCR USA that key differences in witnesses and available arguments may explain the different outcomes.

Done deal: The Tipline for 22 November 2019

GCR USA - 22 November 2019

Bristol-Myers Squibb has completed its $74 billion takeover of biotechnology company Celgene. The companies announced the deal in January and last week received conditional approval with a narrow 3-2 vote from the Federal Trade Commission. The companies agreed to the largest divestiture in US merger control history – Celgene’s sale of psoriasis drug Otezla to Amgen for $13.4 billion – to obtain FTC clearance.

FX marks the spot: The Tipline for 21 November 2019

GCR USA - 21 November 2019

The Department of Justice’s go at securing a currency price-fixing trial conviction proved successful yesterday when a New York jury returned a guilty verdict. Last year, a jury before the same court reached a different outcome, acquitting three traders that the Antitrust Division accused of manipulating prices on the US dollar and Euro exchange. Yesterday, a jury before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York sided with the government in finding that former JPMorgan Chase currency trader Akshay Aiyer had conspired to fix prices and rig bids and offers for certain Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African (CEEMEA) currencies.

Trust your gut: The Tipline for 20 November 2019

GCR USA - 20 November 2019

While Jonathan Baker, author of The Antitrust Paradigm, is calling on antitrust authorities to focus enforcement on harms to future products and innovation, one technology enforcer at the Federal Trade Commission is playing a little defence. Patricia Galvan pointed to the FTC’s work in the pharmaceuticals sector as an example of how the agency “consistently brings cases” when an acquisition of a competitor with a product in development is viewed as problematic. And in New York, the Department of Justice and counsel to former currency trader Akshay Aiyer jammed a 12-day trial into a single day of closing arguments.

Mo’ money, mo’ enforcement: The Tipline for 19 November 2019

GCR USA - 19 November 2019

GCR USA attended the American Bar Association’s fall forum yesterday, where the head of the Federal Trade Commission advocated for additional resources to expand enforcement against big technology platforms. Speaking at the same conference, deputy attorney general Jeffrey Rosen said that the Department of Justice’s review of market-leading online platforms has raised “substantive issues”, although it has not come to any conclusions. And you will not be able to ask your significant other to “Paramount consent decree and chill” much longer, as the DOJ said it will seek to terminate the settlements that have regulated the movie industry for more than 70 years. Meanwhile, in New York, defence counsel to a former JPMorgan Chase currency trader accused of conspiring to fix prices for certain currencies has rested its case, setting up closing arguments today alongside the Antitrust Division.

Pharma split: The Tipline for 18 November 2019

GCR USA - 18 November 2019

We had a split decision at the Federal Trade Commission. The agency voted 3-2 to order drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene divest psoriasis drug Otezla as a condition for the companies’ proposed $13.4 billion merger. Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter offered dissenting opinions, arguing a “status quo” merger analysis is not enough to address all the potential harms of the deal.

Homeland security: The Tipline for 15 November 2019

GCR USA - 15 November 2019

Both US antitrust agencies are evaluating the role competition plays in national security. A Federal Trade Commission member said yesterday that concentration in the US defence supply chain could threaten national security. This comes following Department of Justice claims that a decision against Qualcomm’s licensing practices could also threaten national security. While assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim is recused from the Qualcomm litigation, he argued in favour of taking a more proactive approach towards maintaining the consumer welfare standard as the crux of US antitrust law.

Geek out: The Tipline for 14 November 2019

GCR USA - 14 November 2019

We like to fancy ourselves as competition geeks at GCR USA, spending our days focused on court filings and Congressional debates over whether vertical non-competes should be per se illegal, while the rest of Washington is tuned in to the impeachment hearings. But let’s be honest: the real antitrust nerds are spending today and tomorrow at the Federal Trade Commission’s annual microeconomics conference. Even there, the topics do sound pretty interesting, ranging from algorithmic pricing and corporate disclosures as means of collusion, to beer and Chinese industrial policy.