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  • Comcast-TWC Merger Raises Consumer Concerns - 27 February 2014
  • Comcast's $45 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable has raised a host of objections from various consumer and social action groups, with the main concern being that the merging of the two companies would dominate the cable television and broadband industry, edging out competition and leaving consumers with fewer choices. The combined company would have up to 33 million cable subscribers and close to that number of broadband users, a scenario which could give it the power it needs to influence networks with regard to licensing fees, as well has being able to set market rates on its products and services.

  • American Airlines/US Airways Merger Edges Forward - 16 may 2013
  • The American Airlines/US Airways merger moved a step closer to completion, when US Judge Sean Lane signed off on the proposed agreement to merge the two airlines, thereby creating the largest airline in the world, one that will have more than 100,000 workers in its employ. The signing off of the agreement came more than six weeks after Judge Lane heard the motion in a hearing during which he rejected the proposal to hand AMR Corporation CEO Thomas Horton a severance package of $20 million.

  • AT&T/T-Mobile Face Antitrust Issues - 1 September 2011
  • In the current economic climate, mergers and acquisitions offer potential for growth, as well as a means to cut costs by the laying off of staff and sharing of resources. The danger in M&A activity is the domination of markets by monopolies, and this is where antitrust authorities step in to ensure that markets remain competitive and consumers have a choice in products and services. The proposed takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T has been big news recently and it is no secret that AT&T was counting on this acquisition to compete with Verizon. But yesterday, the Department of Justice stepped in to block the $39 billion takeover in its current form, noting that the deal would push up prices for consumers and reduce competition.

  • Rival Bids for NYSE Undergo Regulatory Scrutiny - 21 April 2011
  • As the battle between Nasdaq and the Deutsche Börse continues, with the New York Stock Exchange as the prize, regulatory authorities are examining all options on the table to ensure that no antitrust laws are violated. The US Department of Justice is looking at how competition in equity listings may be affected in the event of a takeover by Nasdaq, as well a the impact on US companies trying to raise capital in the country in the event of foreign ownership proposed by the Deutsche Börse deal.

  • Algerians' Hardball Tactic in Natural Gas Threatens Jobs and World Prices - 18 March 2011
  • The world economy is a balancing act. Disruptions, even in obscure parts of the globe, can make pernicious ripples elsewhere. Take, for example, the protracted dispute over back payments for natural gas deliveries from North Africa to Europe. Not many people outside those regions know anything about the dispute. But it stands to harm job creation and employment, as well as energy markets, in places as far-flung as Louisiana in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

  • Coercive and Natural Monopolies - 22 December 2010
  • Competition is one of the key elements of a healthy economy, and in all major economies of the world authoritative bodies are in place to enforce competition and antitrust laws to prevent monopolies from dominating the market. However, not all monopolies are formed with the intent of deliberately squeezing out the competition. Some monopolies result from a situation where the first supplier in a newly created market, in other words the innovator of either a product or service, becomes firmly entrenched to the extent that potential competitors find it difficult, if not impossible, to break into the market. This type of monopoly is referred to as a 'natural' monopoly and the obstacles faced by potential competitors may be referred to as 'barriers to entry'. Examples of natural monopoly would include providers of public utilities such as water services, electricity and landline telecommunications in countries where these are supplied by private companies, or under government contract. Setting up these services requires substantial capital outlay, which is difficult to match.

  • A Brief History of Competition Law – Part 3 - 11 October 2010
  • Continued from Part 2

    It was following WWI that other countries started to implement competition policies along the lines of those introduced by the United States. Competition regulators were formed to ensure that competition and antitrust policies and laws were adhered to. Following the 2nd World War, the Allies introduced regulations to break up cartels and monopolies that had formed during the war years. At the time, this was mainly aimed at Germany and Japan. In the case of Germany, it was feared that large industry cartels were manipulated in a manner that gave total economic control of the country to the Nazi regime. With Japan, big business was a hotbed of nepotism resulting in multi-industry conglomerates that controlled the Japanese economy. However, the surrender of both Germany and Japan to the Allied forces at the end of WWII allowed for tighter controls to be enforced, and these controls were based on the principle of those being used in the U.S.

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