Blog


News about developments in antitrust cases, mergers and acquisitions, and related regulatory and legislative activity. Tom Hagy is the Executive Editor of the MoginRubin LLP Blog.

DOJ Opposes Merger of Auto Industry’s Aluminum Sheet Suppliers, Agrees to Arbitrate Market Definition

By Jennifer M. Oliver The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division is for the first time exercising its authority under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act…

CCPA Changes Sent to Governor’s Desk as January Effective Date Draws Closer and Compliance Costs Loom Large

By Jennifer M. Oliver Several amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 are headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. Issues range from the…

California’s College Athletes May Profit from Their Positions, Kicking Off a National Wave and a Bout with the NCAA

By Timothy Z. LaComb and Jennifer M. Oliver September 30, 2019, was a big day for college athletics. Alongside Lakers’ star LeBron James (who ironically…

Colleges, Students Tell DOJ McGraw-Hill/Cengage Merger Would Create a Textbook Duopoly

By Timothy Z. LaComb Two of the three dominant college textbook publishers – McGraw-Hill Education, Inc. and Cengage Learning Holdings II, Inc – have agreed…

Consumer Groups and Unions Tell FTC: AbbVie-Allergen Merger Will Deny Access to More Effective and Affordable Drugs

By Dan Mogin, Jennifer M. Oliver and Timothy Z. LaComb In a September 13, 2019 letter, seventeen consumer advocacy groups and unions (led by Public…

‘Big Tuna’ Antitrust Case Among Latest to Discuss Daubert Test at Class Certification Stage. But What’s Too Rigorous?

By Jennifer M. Oliver U.S. Judge Janis L. Sammartino in California’s Southern District certified a price fixing class action against “Big Tuna” this summer following…

German Court: Facebook’s Use of Non-Facebook Data, Even if a Privacy Violation, is Not Anti-Competitive

While Facebook is under assault from multiple agencies and branches of government in the U.S. and Europe, it received a little good news from Germany,…

Google’s Cookie Conundrum: What’s Essential to Revenue Also Threatens Privacy

By Jennifer M. Oliver Google says cookies are good. They are critical to generating advertising revenue and they help the company improve its product from…

DOJ Opposes Sabre’s Acquisition of Airline Ticketing Disrupter Farelogix

By Jennifer Oliver When a company with a new idea shakes up an industry and delights consumers, it is tempting for established players to devour…

Hard-Disk-Drive Suspension Makers, Distributors Face Price-Fixing Class Actions, One Pays $28M Criminal Fine

By Dan Mogin People old enough to remember record players (or people who have rediscovered them) know what it was like when the needle skipped…

CBS and Viacom Get Back Together to Serve Largest Share of U.S. TV Market

By Dan Mogin and Timothy Z. LaComb Apparently celebrity breakups and reunions happen at the corporate level, too. CBS Corp. is buying Viacom in an…

FTC ‘Gift’ to Facebook Arrives in Less-Than-Cheery Wrapping Paper for Zuckerberg, Sandberg

  By Jennifer Oliver Even in the year 2019, $5 billion is a lot of cash. The Federal Trade Commission’s penalty against Facebook in that…

DOJ Gets Involved in Antitrust Case Against Symantec and Others Over Malware Testing Standards

By Jonathan Rubin and Timothy Z. LaComb The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division has inserted itself into a case that questions whether the Anti-Malware…

Remedy or Misadventure? DOJ Proposes Creation of New Competitor to Allay T-Mobile/Sprint Anticompetition Concerns

By Jonathan Rubin and Timothy Z. LaComb The federal government and five state attorneys general reached a proposed settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint on July…

Anticompetition & Privacy Probes Put Big Tech on the Defensive, Scrambling to Adapt & Paying Fines

By Jennifer M. Oliver & Nicole Ambrosetti The Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission are making good on their promises to…

Talent Agencies Sue Writers’ Unions for Anticompetitive Boycott

The world’s leading talent agencies claim the two Writers Guild of America (WGA) unions violated antitrust laws by executing what they call an illegal boycott…

Free Competition or National Security? Chip Giant Qualcomm’s Business Practices Pit the FTC Against the DOJ

Ubiquitous modem chips allow our smart devices to communicate with each other over cellular networks using industry standards like 4G LTE. A small group of…

DOJ Will Weigh ‘Good Corporate Citizenship’ in Future Criminal Probes

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim announced on July 11, 2019, the Antitrust Division’s new policy for incentivizing antitrust compliance, saying the government “will consider compliance…

Professional Sports Leagues at Odds With Gaming Industry Over Control of Statistics

For a group of organizations whose very existence is based on fair world-class competition, the competitive spirit of professional sports leagues has drawn its share…

Following California High Court, 9th Circuit Invalidates Mandatory Arbitration of Consumer Claims

Mandatory arbitration clauses in California just became a lot less mandatory. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals handed consumers in three unrelated cases a…

Salmon Industry Faces Price-Fixing Lawsuits in the U.S. Following Raids in Europe

Commercial U.S. buyers of Farmed Atlantic Salmon have sued many of the leaders of what they maintain is a global cartel that has colluded to…

Cases Alleging Caustic Soda Cartel Combined in Federal Court in Upstate New York

Five companies filed separate lawsuits earlier this year in the Western District of New York against the nation’s leading manufacturers of caustic soda, a chemical…

AbbVie Buying Allergan for $63B, Creating a Dominant Player in Beauty Drug Market

June 25, 2019 — AbbVie Inc. is acquiring Dublin-based Allergan PLC for approximately $63 billion in cash and stocks, the companies announced to today. “This…

Google is Allowing Businesses to Post Millions of Fake Listings on its Maps App. Will It Be Held Accountable?

By Jennifer M. Oliver According to a recent Wall Street Journal report millions of business listings on Google Maps are fake, thanks to businesses seeking…

Consumers, Ranchers Allege Cartel in Beef Industry

The meat packing industry is coming under increasing pressure in the form of separate antitrust lawsuits filed this year by consumers and cattle ranchers. Both…

Maine, Nevada Consumer Privacy Laws Tighten the Reins on Private Data in the U.S.

Maine — Governor Janet Mills signed the state’s tough new consumer privacy act into law June 6, requiring internet providers to obtain a consumer’s express consent before…

NY Privacy Act Would Give Consumers Substantial Control Over Their Data and Direct Action Rights

The newly proposed New York Privacy Act, S5642, would give consumers substantial control over the use of their personal data, such as the right to…

Tech Market Getting More Scrutiny, This Time From the U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee

The line of politicians, regulators, and legislators in the U.S. and abroad expressing serious concerns about the market power held by big technology companies seems…

WSJ: DOJ ‘Gearing Up’ For Antitrust Fight Against Alphabet Inc.’s Google

The Wall Street Journal reported on May 31 that the U.S. Justice Department is “gearing up” for an antitrust investigation of Google, “a move that…

Qualcomm Seeks Stay of Judge Koh’s ‘Irreparably Flawed’ Antitrust Decision

  Qualcomm Inc. has asked U.S. Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California to stay, pending appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S.…

CFIUS: A Guardian of National Security or a Protectionist Tool?

What was once an obscure and relatively quiet interagency committee has been getting big headlines lately. The committee has been playing a bigger role on…

California Consumers Denied Right to Sue Companies Directly for Privacy Violations – For Now

The Appropriations Committee of the California Senate on May 17 halted efforts to add to the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) a private right of…

DOJ Guides Prosecutors Considering Criminal Charges in Assessing Corporate Compliance Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division has issued guidance to assist prosecutors in assessing corporate compliance programs during criminal investigations. Saying…

Supreme Court Greenlights iPhone App Antitrust Case by ‘Direct Purchasers’

The Supreme Court held today that iPhone users are “direct purchasers” of apps from Apple’s wildly popular multi-billion-dollar App Store and have standing to sue,…

Product Performance Differences a Key Factor in ‘Relevant Market’ Definition

In an Initial Decision announced May 7, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell upheld a Federal Trade Commission complaint challenging the consummated merger of two prosthetics manufacturers that…

CCPA & GDPR: The Many Similarities & Several Important Distinctions Between Two Laws That Can Bite

Companies will want to know of the often similar but frequently very different requirements created by the California Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2018 (CCPA)…

German Competition Regulator Calls Facebook’s User Data Collection “Exploitative Abuse”

The German competition regulatory authority has decided to bar Facebook from combining user data with data it scrapes from non-Facebook sources — a major spring…

Spotify Tells EU Apple is Hampering Competitors as Apple Music Surpasses Spotify in U.S.

Swedish music streaming company Spotify Technology SA’s antitrust complaint against Apple Inc. in Europe is another example of a dispute arising when a company is…

Add-On Acquisitions Require Antitrust Due Diligence, Expertise, and Proactivity

With the uptick in global private equity add-on acquisition activity comes the usual M&A-related risks, but getting out in front of any potential antitrust challenges…

Sen. Markey Introduces Federal Privacy Bill of Rights Act, Includes Private Right of Action

On Friday, April 12, 2019, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced the Privacy Bill of Rights Act “in the wake of a series of revelations…

The New Antitrust Paradox

THE NEW ANTITRUST PARADOX: HOW PROTECTING COMPETITORS AHEAD OF CONSUMERS KILLS THE COMPETITION THAT ANTITRUST IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT. IS IT TIME TO GO BACK…

Employer Anticompetitive Practices Are Risky Business

Risky Business: No-Poach, Non-Competes, and Other Anticompetitive Employment Practices Are “Old-Time” Rock and Roll This is a brief excerpt of a thorough discussion of the…

Cannabis Competitors Engage in Anticompetitive Conduct to Protect Territory, More Cases Likely

The global cannabis market is on track to triple in size in the next three years, expecting to hit $32 billion, with two-thirds of that…

Expanding Private Right of Action Under California Consumer Protection Act Clears Judiciary Committee

By Jennifer M. Oliver, Counsel, MoginRubin LLP SACRAMENTO — April 10, 2019 — The California Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary yesterday voted 5-3 in support…

California Consumer Privacy Act Getting Fitted for New Teeth as 2020 Approaches

The landmark California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 granted consumers new rights to protect themselves with respect to the collection and use of their private…

Entering Into a Naked No-Poach Agreement? Bring a Lawyer.

Employers and business owners who wish to protect themselves when employees leave for new positions — taking with them valuable knowledge that competitors would love…

Another Anti-Competition, Anti-Privacy Action Coming Soon, This Time in Mississippi

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told CNBC on Monday, March 18, that he is developing his antitrust case against Google similar to the one brought…

With Today’s Penalty, EU’s Fines Against Google Total $9.4 Billion for Anti-Competitive Conduct

The European Commission has fined Google $1.69 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. “Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive…

Internet of Things: When Does Antitrust Play a Role in Privacy and National Security?

Bipartisan legislation to improve the cybersecurity of Internet-connected devices was introduced March 11 in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation —…

Legislators Call Out Antitrust Conduct in the Drug Industry, Call Regulators’ Remedies Ineffective

The drug industry has developed a temporary cure for partisan wrangling on Capitol Hill: the high cost of health care and prescription drugs. Democrats and…

Citing the Need for Antitrust Reform and Enforcement, Sen. Warren Touts Two-Point Plan to Separate Tech ‘Platforms’ from ‘Participants’

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information…

Facebook’s Messenger Integration Plan Greeted With Anti-Competition, Anti-Privacy Criticism

In a move that could redefine how 2.6 billion people use Facebook Messenger and Facebook’s acquired WhatsApp and Instagram apps, The New York Times reported…

New FTC Task Force to Monitor Anticompetitive Conduct in Tech Sector

The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition has set its sights on the U.S. technology sector. On Feb. 28 it launched a task force that…

Representations and Warranties and Other Contractual Provisions That Work as Defense and Offense in Deal Disputes

By Jennifer M. Oliver, Counsel, MoginRubin Half of all merger and acquisition deals are subjected to post-closing price adjustment claims. Traditionally, these disputes were resolved…

Notorious RBEs: Flouting M&A ‘Reasonable Best Efforts’ Provisions Can Cost Companies Billions  

Trial started this week in Delaware Chancery Court in a colossal dispute that followed the thunderous collapse of what would have been a $48.9 billion…

Failure to Divulge Potential Privacy Violation Cited in Attack on 3.2B Acquisition

  “Let’s face it: getting out the door can be hectic sometimes.” That’s one of the problems Google Assistant is supposed to address. But when…

Presidential Candidate Klobuchar Takes Aim at Antitrust, Promotes Competition

Subjects like immigration, health care, criminal justice reform, taxes, international trade, and Russia dominate political news coverage. But one new Democratic candidate determined to challenge…

Global Antitrust Regulators Thwarted Fewer Deals in 2018 vs 2017, But Fines Increased

Antitrust concerns by regulators led to the demise of 29 mergers around the globe in 2018, which was a record year for the number of…

GAO: U.S. Needs Internet Personal Data Privacy Protections for Consumers

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has called on Congress to develop “comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy that would enhance consumer protections and provide flexibility to…