JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S ANTITRUST DIVISION ISSUES
WASHINGTON, D.C. The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division
today issued a report summarizing the Division's enforcement actions since
October 1992. The Division's principal objective in investigating and
prosecuting suspected antitrust law violations is to ensure lower prices
for consumers and to provide both consumers and businesses with the
benefits of vigorous competition in open markets.
The report emphasizes that the Antitrust Division has been vigorously
protecting consumers and businesses by:
- Meeting the challenge of a global economy by prosecuting
international price fixing that harms U.S. consumers, and opening markets
for American companies abroad.
- Aggressively prosecuting criminal price fixing conspiracies,
netting record fines and significant jail sentences.
- Increasing competition in local and long distance telephone
service and other telecommunications related markets.
- Successfully preserving competition with aggressive yet rational
civil merger and non-merger enforcement.
- Responding to the needs of the business community for clarity and
certainty in antitrust enforcement by providing guidelines for health care,
intellectual property, the international arena, and through business review
- Increasing cooperation to an unprecedented degree with other law
enforcement agencies, including foreign antitrust officials, state
attorneys general and other federal agencies.
The report was unveiled at the American Bar Association's Antitrust
Section Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.
In FY 1995 alone, the Division has posted several records including:
"The Antitrust Division's record in recent years reaffirms the
importance to America's well-being of intelligent, vigorous antitrust
enforcement," said, Anne K. Bingaman, Assistant Attorney General in charge
of the Antitrust Division. "By meeting the unique challenges facing
antitrust enforcers today--a dynamic economy, increasing globalization,
accelerating technological change, and a record-breaking merger wave--the
Antitrust Division ensures that open competition on the merits remains a
fundamental principle of our economy."
- Obtained a total of $40.4 million in criminal antitrust fines
against corporations--the highest ever.
- Procured fines of $26 million in the commercial explosives
industry including the highest corporate criminal antitrust fines against
- Filed 15 consent decrees--the largest number in 15
years--to stop anticompetitive practices through civil remedies.
The following represents some highlights of the Division's activities
as reflected in the report:
- Removed anticompetitive restraints imposed on American exports
adding up to $1 billion to U.S. export revenues over the next six years
- Ensured open competition in international telecommunications
markets by obtaining merger settlements that ensure opportunities for
American companies (British Telecommunications/MCI and Sprint/France
- Issued jointly with the Federal Trade Commission Antitrust
Enforcement Guidelines for International Operations in an effort to protect
both American consumers and exporters.
- The Division was instrumental in obtaining the passage of The
International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994, legislation
that gives the Department and the FTC powerful new tools to enforce our
antitrust laws against international cartels that harm American consumers
- Broke up an international price fixing cartel in thermal fax
paper, resulting in the first criminal antitrust prosecution of a major
Japanese corporation (Mitsubishi Corp.).
- Obtained a record $15 million criminal antitrust fine against a
subsidiary of a Norwegian manufacturer of commercial explosives for
conspiring to fix prices (Dyno Nobel).
- Broke up other criminal conspiracies that were increasing American
consumers' prices for goods such as milk, bread, carpets, residential
doors, plastic dinnerware, and steel wool scouring pads.
- Played a leading role, working closely with the Administration and
Congress to secure the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996,
legislation that will increase competition and reduce government
- Supported appropriate waiver requests of the Modified Final
Judgment by the Bell companies to engage in new businesses
that would not impede competition (Ameritech).
- Established a Telecommunications Task Force made up of lawyers
with extensive telecommunications merger experience, and prepared to review
the added number of proposed mergers and alliances likely to result from
the new law.
- Challenged or restructured a high number of mergers--since FY
1993, 60 were challenged and of those, 27 were challenged in court, 20 were
restructured to alleviate the threat of competition. An additional 33
transactions, which did not involve court proceedings--were abandoned or
restructured by the parties as a result of the Division's investigation.
- Protected competition in software markets by challenging the
proposed Microsoft/Intuit merger, which Microsoft abandoned after the
Division filed suit.
- Protected competition in the telecommunications, healthcare,
bread, tissue, software, and waste disposal industries by restructuring
- Undertook three court trials of merger challenges in the hospital,
newspaper and clay industries.
- Undertook a precedent-setting number of joint investigations with
State Attorneys General, resulting in significant divestitures of bank
branches and deposits in some of the largest bank mergers on record (Fleet
Financial Group/Shawmut, Wells Fargo/First Interstate Bancorp. and U.S.
- Settled a case against seven major airlines that prohibits them
from collaborating among competitors which if allowed to continue could
have cost consumers well over $1 billion in higher ticket prices (Airline
Tariff Publishing Co.).
- Saved millions of dollars on weapons procurement for the
Department of Defense by challenging an anticompetitive "teaming
arrangement" between Alliant Techsystems and Aerojet-General to supply the
Defense Department with cluster bombs. The Division's settlement recouped
$12 million for taxpayers.
- Disciplined trade organizations engaged in activities that raised
the prices of goods and services their members sold to the public (American
Bar Association, National Automobile Dealers Association and the
Association of Retail Travel Agents).
- Opened competition in automated teller machine (ATM) access for
consumers (Electronic Payment Services).
- Protecting competition in the health care industry through the
Division's newly created Health Care Task Force by promoting the
development of competitive managed care plans with successful and
innovative settlements (Danbury, St. Joseph and Classic Care).
GUIDANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
- Provide guidance on a forward-looking basis to the business
community through the Department's Business Review Procedure which allows
parties to seek the Antitrust Division's enforcement intentions with
respect to specific prospective conduct.
Issued jointly with the Federal Trade Commission for the first time
- Guidelines for licensing of intellectual property that are an
important part of the Division's emphasis on promoting innovation.
- Statements of policy in the health care area to provide detailed
antitrust guidance with respect to subject areas that play an important
role in the health care system.
- Issued jointly with the FTC new guidelines for international
operations to replace those issued by the Division in 1988. The guidelines
articulate the agencies' resolve to protect both American consumers and
American exporters from anticompetitive restraints where there is a direct
effect on U.S. commerce.
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