USA Tipline

The Georgia Blues: The Tipline for 6 January 2021

GCR USA - 06 January 2021

It looks as though the Democrats won both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday, presumably giving the Biden administration more leeway with who it can select as officials and judges. But some observers are already foreshadowing fights between progressive and moderate wings of the party. Could a Senate majority avoid a two-to-two deadlock at the Federal Trade Commission? Mark the start of a Senate antitrust subcommittee probe? In today’s Tipline, St Luke’s scores a win against ProMedica, another merger is abandoned following an FTC challenge and the US antitrust agencies get paid.

Georgia on my mind: The Tipline for 5 January 2021

GCR USA - 05 January 2021

Georgia voters head to the polls today to determine the political makeup of the US Senate – and perhaps President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to appoint leadership at the US antitrust agencies. Competition policy may not be a deciding factor for many Georgians today, but the Department of Justice sure has its eyes on the Peach State. The government revealed on Monday a deferred prosecution agreement with Argos USA for conspiring to fix prices for ready-mix cement in coastal Georgia. Also in Tipline, another healthcare deal is announced and Kirkland & Ellis expands its antitrust prowess.

Stocking stuffers: The Tipline for 4 January 2021

GCR USA - 04 January 2021

The US antitrust agencies may have delivered their major presents to Google and Facebook before the holiday break, but they still had plenty of stockings stuffers for the antitrust community. Hopefully your kids appreciated a year off from The Polar Express in favour of the Federal Trade Commission’s new commentary on vertical merger enforcement. And several merging companies – RentPath/CoStar Group and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare/Tenet Healthcare – delivered the FTC some gifts of their own.

Competition is just a docket away: The Tipline for 18 December 2020

GCR USA - 18 December 2020

Google’s worst enemy may be the refresh button on Pacer.com. For those keeping score at home, that’s three monopolisation lawsuits filed against the company in the span of two months after 38 state attorneys general joined the party on Thursday. The only inhabited US states and territories not accusing Google of violating federal antitrust law: Alabama, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands. With that news, GCR USA wishes you and your loved ones a happy holiday. Tipline will be back at the start of what hopes to be a brighter new year.

Don't Mess with Texas: The Tipline for 17 December 2020

GCR USA - 17 December 2020

The slogan “Don't Mess with Texas” was created in 1985 for the Texas Department of Transportation’s anti-littering campaign. The state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, is now borrowing the catchphrase for his campaign against Big Tech. Announcing a multi-state antitrust lawsuit against Google yesterday, Paxton said he is “here to fight for each and every citizen of Texas” and that he will continue to do his job, whether big technology companies like it or not. “It’s time for them to learn the hard way that you do not mess with Texas,” he said.

Naughty or nice: The Tipline for 16 December 2020

GCR USA - 16 December 2020

Lawmakers in Washington, DC, passed major antitrust legislation on Tuesday – no, not Congress. The DC Council voted unanimously in favour of an outright ban on non-compete agreements for certain workers. Meanwhile, antitrust progressives are hopeful for competition law gifts at the federal level next year, making it known that they will be closely watching to see if the Biden administration is naughty or nice to monopoly power.

Barr out before Christmas: The Tipline for 15 December 2020

GCR USA - 15 December 2020

Attorney General William Barr will leave the Department of Justice on the eve of Christmas Eve. His parting words to the president yesterday included praise for his agency’s competition work. Even though Christmas is next week, both the DOJ’s antitrust division and the Federal Trade Commission continue to keep busy. The division revealed yesterday that it has conditionally cleared a health insurance merger in New England, while the FTC announced another broad study of the high-technology industry.

Unboiled eggs: The Tipline for 14 December 2020

GCR USA - 14 December 2020

In 2015, scientists at the University of California discovered a way to unboil egg whites. While the research may have been designed to improve cancer treatments and food production, the chemists moved one step closer to ruining the most over-used metaphor in the antitrust world. Unscrambling an egg is still physically impossible, yet enforcers have time and time again successfully separated a company’s assets. Economists John Kwoka and Tommaso Valletti have shared their thoughts on why the metaphor does not work.

Crime doesn’t pay: The Tipline for 11 December 2020

GCR USA - 11 December 2020

When someone says “crime doesn’t pay”, they are usually implying that a criminal act is going to result in more trouble than benefit. The Department of Justice’s antitrust division gave the idiom a more literal meaning on Thursday, announcing the first-ever wage-fixing indictment in the history of the Sherman Act. Also in Tipline, the DOJ weighs in on a no-poach lawsuit brought by Burger King employees and former Federal Trade Commission chair Edith Ramirez predicts what competition enforcement might look like under the Biden administration.

Moving Mountains: The Tipline for 10 December 2020

GCR USA - 10 December 2020

To former Federal Trade Commission chair Bill Kovacic, the Department of Justice’s Standard Oil case will always be the Mount Everest of antitrust enforcement. The lawsuit filed by the FTC and 48 state attorneys general against Facebook on Wednesday may not be quite on that level, but Kovacic said it “could be in the Himalayas” when all is finished. Strap on your oxygen tank and join GCR USA at 29,000 feet.

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