Packaged tuna producer StarKist says it cannot afford to pay more than half the $100 million criminal fine it agreed to pay as part of a price-fixing plea with the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. StarKist claims that a decrease in sales and the potential costs of private litigation could leave it unable to remain viable. The DOJ and a California federal judge seem to think this argument smells fishy.
If you were hoping to fly Southwest through Newark for Thanksgiving, you’ll have to change plans. Southwest is cancelling service through the airport from 3 November onwards, a little more than nine years after United agreed to divest Newark International Airport takeoff and landing slots to Southwest to resolve the Department of Justice’s concerns about United’s merger with Continental Airlines. Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Patrick Leahy first introduced antitrust whistleblower protection legislation only a few years after Southwest began its short tenure at Newark, and they introduced a new version of that legislation Wednesday. Previous versions passed the Senate but haven’t been put to a vote in the House.
The US Department of State has called out China’s competition authority as allegedly favouring local companies in its enforcement of anti-monopoly laws.
Critics have argued that the Department of Justice’s antitrust division was too lenient in approving airline mergers amid a string of consolidation during the Obama administration. Many of those same critics have argued US antitrust enforcers have been too lenient in approving technology mergers. Yesterday, the agency challenged a deal that encompasses both sectors. The division alleges Sabre’s acquisition of Farelogix is an attempt to eliminate a “disruptive competitor” in the market for airline flight booking services. Meanwhile, Sabre said the DOJ’s claims “reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the industry”.
The Department of Justice’s antitrust division has sued to block Sabre’s purchase of a rival travel technology company.
The head of Germany’s Monopolies Commission has praised Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon for investing in innovation, but said they need to grant greater access to rivals.
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