Antitrust Division Issues 2015 Annual Newsletter
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued the 2015 edition of its annual newsletter. The newsletter highlights the Antitrust Division’s civil and criminal enforcement actions, international cooperation efforts and competition guidance and advocacy over the last year.
The newsletter includes a message from Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer discussing the division’s recent litigation successes, prosecution of domestic and international cartels, efforts to provide antitrust guidance as new business models and technologies emerge, and continued competition advocacy, both in the U.S. and abroad. Assistant Attorney General Baer emphasized that the division’s ability to enforce antitrust laws across many different industries requires adherence to certain core principles: “We do not pick winners and losers; we focus on removing obstacles to competitive markets and protecting market structures that encourage competition. We want innovators to innovate and disrupters to disrupt, and for American consumers to benefit from dynamic markets.”
This year’s newsletter describes the division’s criminal enforcement efforts, which included obtaining approximately $1.3 billion in criminal fines and penalties – the largest amount ever secured by the division in a single fiscal year – and the incarceration of 21 executives for criminal violations of U.S. antitrust laws. The division also brought its first prosecution against a conspiracy specifically targeting e-commerce, in which pricing algorithms were manipulated to fix prices on the internet.
The civil enforcement update in the newsletter discusses the successful challenge, after a seven-week trial, to American Express’s antisteering rules. The newsletter refers to the decision of National CineMedia and Screenvision to abandon their proposed merger to monopoly after the division sued to enjoin the deal, and details the division’s successful effort to unwind a consummated merger to monopoly in the New York City “hop-on, hop-off” tour bus market. The newsletter also reports on the division’s recent use of disgorgement to ensure that defendants do not profit from unlawful conduct.
Finally, the newsletter includes profiles on division attorneys and economists, as well as an article on the division’s diversity initiatives.
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