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Antitrust
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  • United States District Court For The Northern District Of California Focuses On Information Sharing To Magnify Anticompetitive Conspiracy In Antitrust Suit Against Telescope Manufacturers
     
    04/09/2019

    On March 29, 2019, Judge Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss, finding that plaintiff Orion Telescopes & Binoculars (“Orion”) had sufficiently pled that defendants Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd. (“Ningbo”) and Celestron, LLC (“Celestron”) had conspired to divide the market for low- to medium-end telescopes and block a competing manufacturer’s acquisition that would have enabled expansion and broader supply-side competition.  Optronic Technologies, Inc., v. Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd., No. 16-CV-6370 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 29, 2019).  Judge Davila cited plaintiff’s specific allegations of:  (a) a division among competitors of the low-end (to Ningbo) and high-end (to Celestron) telescope markets (facilitated in part by a transfer of intellectual property to Ningbo); and (b) Celestron’s advance knowledge of Ningbo’s interest in the merger.  Celestron settled prior to the litigation, but Orion and Ningbo will continue into discovery.
  • Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Antitrust Suit Against The Anheuser-Busch InBev And SABMiller Merger
     
    08/14/2018

    On August 8, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a dismissal of an antitrust class action by beer consumers that challenged the acquisition of SABMiller (“SAB”) by Anheuser-Busch InBev (“ABI”).  In an opinion by Judge Margaret McKeown, the Ninth Circuit held that the beer consumers failed to state a claim under Section 7 of the Clayton Act because: (1) ABI did not actually acquire a competitor in the U.S. beer market; (2) ABI did not acquire a “potential competitor” in the U.S. beer market; and (3) the consumers’ concern that the acquisition would significantly increase the threat of post-merger coordination between the last remaining market players, ABI and Molson Coors Brewing Company (“Molson”), was speculative.
  • United States District Court For The District Of Columbia Rejects DOJ Challenge To AT&T-Time Warner Merger
    06/19/2018
    On June 12, 2018, following a six-week-long bench trial, Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner does not violate the antitrust laws, rejecting the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) challenge to the merger. United States v. AT&T Inc., Civil Case No. 17-2511 (RJL) (D.D.C. June 12, 2018). This case—the first vertical merger challenge tried by the Justice Department since 1977—demonstrates the difficulty in challenging mergers where a competitor is not eliminated by the transaction.

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