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Recent Developments in Government Antitrust Enforcement: Aidan Synnott and Andrew Finch Author “United States” Chapter in The Public Competition Enforcement Review

August 4, 2016 download PDF

Antitrust partners Aidan Synnott and Andrew C. Finch have authored a chapter surveying recent developments in antitrust-related enforcement actions of the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. The chapter appears in the recently-published eighth edition of The Public Competition Enforcement Review, an annual survey of the activities of competition law enforcement authorities around the word. Aidan Synnott is the editor of the Review. The United States chapter discusses federal criminal and civil non-merger enforcement cases, as well as actions the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have taken to challenge or modify recent proposed mergers. The chapter also discusses several actions related to the healthcare sector.

With respect to criminal enforcement, the chapter chronicles developments in the Department of Justice's ongoing investigations and prosecutions, including developments in the DOJ's six-year investigation into auto parts price fixing and its continuing investigations of bid rigging in real estate foreclosure auctions and municipal bond reinvestment agreements. With respect to non-criminal enforcement, the chapter discusses, among other things, the Apple Inc. e-books case, in which in 2015 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court's finding that Apple had conspired with e-books publishers to raise the price of e-books. The chapter also discusses the 2015 Supreme Court decision holding that state professional licensing boards are not immune from antitrust challenges where the boards are controlled by participants in the profession being regulated.

Finally, the chapter reviews the FTC's and DOJ's recent cases seeking to block mergers, including the FTC's success in the litigation it brought to block the proposed Sysco-US Foods merger and the DOJ's challenge to Electrolux's proposed acquisition of General Electric's appliance business - a deal which was abandoned by the parties in the middle of trial. The chapter also details the many investigations that were resolved when the parties to the deals agreed to divestures to address the agencies' competitive concerns.

Copies of the chapter are available upon request.

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