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Google Hit With $2.7B Fine in EU's 'Worst-Kept Secret'

Competition chief Margrethe Vestager says tech giant violated antitrust rules

(Newser) - Don't mess with Margrethe Vestager, even if you're Google. The tech giant found that out Tuesday when, in what Bloomberg calls "the worst-kept secret in Brussels," Europe's competition chief hit it with a $2.7 billion antitrust fine—the largest ever in this kind of... More »

AT&T Pondering Huge 'Land Grab' Media Merger

Sources say firm is in talks with Time Warner

(Newser) - A new communications behemoth may be emerging soon: Insiders tell Bloomberg that over the last few weeks, senior execs from AT&T and Time Warner have been discussing strategies including a possible merger. Reuters notes that telecom companies like AT&T have been making a "land grab" for media... More »

$48B Health Care Deal Could 'Reshape Industry'

Anthem-Cigna news comes just weeks after Aetna-Humana announcement

(Newser) - In a deal that the Wall Street Journal says could "reshape the US health industry," Anthem has agreed to buy Cigna for more than $48 billion—forming a combined entity that will cover more than 53 million people. Just weeks after Aetna announced it plans to acquire Humana... More »

Europe Is Going After Google

EU to begin antitrust case, say reports

(Newser) - Google is about to have a very big and very expensive fight on its hands. The Wall Street Journal reports that Europe's antitrust regulator has decided to file formal charges, which could "theoretically" result in penalties of up to $6 billion. The EU's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager,... More »

EU Parliament Says It's Time to Break Up Google

Nonbinding move calls for search to be separated from other services

(Newser) - Europe's parliament has made a statement with a nonbinding vote: Google, the body says, needs to be divided. The European Parliament doesn't actually have power over antitrust matters, the New York Times reports, but the vote says that the EU's competition commissioner should "consider proposals aimed... More »

On What Planet Is the Comcast Merger OK?

Paul Krugman thinks we've gotten too complacent about monopolies

(Newser) - Paul Krugman has just two questions about Comcast's deal to buy Time Warner . "First, why would we even think about letting it go through?" he asks in the New York Times . "Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?" The broadband industry is already... More »

Behind Microsoft's $732M Fine: Snitch Named Google

EU competition watchdog levies heavy penalty to 'punish and deter'

(Newser) - Microsoft got thumped with a $732 million fine issued by the EU antitrust enforcer yesterday for violating the terms of a 2009 deal—thanks to Google and Opera, reports the Financial Times . Microsoft had then promised to offer consumers a choice of Internet browser instead of making Explorer Windows' automatic... More »

Feds Clear Google of Search Bias

Company will make some voluntary changes to its practices

(Newser) - Google is resolving the FTC's antitrust probe into its business practices today after 19 months, the AP reports. As part of the settlement, Google will voluntarily license patents deemed "essential" to its rivals in the mobile phone industry, including Apple, Research in Motion, and Microsoft. The investigation was... More »

Feds Suspect Cable Firms of Stifling Online Videos

DoJ conducting antitrust probe, sources say

(Newser) - Federal authorities suspect cable companies worried about competition from online video have acted improperly to quash their emerging rivals, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . The Department of Justice has opened a wide-ranging investigation, and officials have spoken to online video providers and cable companies, including Time Warner and Comcast,... More »

Google Gets Europe's OK to Buy Motorola

But regulators in EU, United States will monitor for antitrust

(Newser) - Google's $12.5 billion takeover of Motorola Mobility Holdings, announced last August , finally cleared regulators in Europe and the United States yesterday, reports Reuters . But as Motorola owns so many patents that are vital to the telecommunications industry, regulators said they would monitor Google to ensure it continued to... More »

FCC Moves to Block T-Mobile, AT&T Merger

Which means the government will have two cracks at stopping the deal

(Newser) - AT&T thought its muscular lobbying operation would ensure regulatory approval of its deal to buy T-Mobile , but it’s not working out that way. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski moved to block the merger yesterday, giving the government a second chance to break up the sale should an antitrust suit... More »

Rivals Eager for Google Antitrust Hearing

Yelp, Nextag, Expedia say company has been anti-competitive

(Newser) - Google’s Senate antitrust hearing is today, and rivals Yelp, Nextag, and Expedia are ready to do some complaining. The three companies intend to tell lawmakers that Google is exploiting its search dominance by promoting its own services at the expense of theirs in its results, they tell the Wall ... More »

AT&T 'Pretty Confident' It Can Save T-Mobile Deal

Phone giant tries to duck antitrust concerns

(Newser) - AT&T is dead set on getting its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile past anti-trust regulators, and it’s developing a two-part plan to do so. While one of the telecom giant’s hands is preparing to battle the Justice Department in court, the other will be trying to strike... More »

Google Hires Army of Lobbyists, Also Eyes Hulu

It lines up 12 companies ahead of possible antitrust suit

(Newser) - Busy times for Google, even beyond its social networking push :
  • Lobbyist blitz: The company is apparently taking a potential antitrust investigation by the FTC very seriously, reports the Hill : Google is hiring no fewer than 12 top lobbying firms to make its case to lawmakers. “We have a strong
... More »

States Putting Antitrust Screws to Google, Too

California, New York, and Ohio join Texas in starting inquiries

(Newser) - As if the looming federal probe wasn’t bad enough, Google is now facing antitrust investigations from a number of states. California, New York, and Ohio have begun inquiries into the possible anti-competitive threat posed by Google’s search dominance, jumping on a bandwagon Texas started last year, the Financial ... More »

Google Faces FTC Antitrust Investigation

Tech giant to receive subpoenas this week

(Newser) - The Federal Trade Commission will send Google subpoenas this week as it begins an antitrust probe into the search king. Officials are investigating whether the firm has taken unfair advantage of its leading position in the tech landscape. It’s the weightiest US investigation the company has thus faced: While... More »

Congress Should Force NFL to Play Ball

Arlen Specter: Congress should step in to break gridlock

(Newser) - NFL owners and players can't seem to figure a way of their legal fight , raising the very real possibility that we'll have no season this year. This goes way beyond sports, writes former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in the New York Times . It would be a devastating economic... More »

Feds Suspect Banks Colluded to Fix Interest Rate

Citigroup, Bank of America often reported similar numbers

(Newser) - The Justice Department and the SEC are investigating whether banks colluded to hold down a key interest rate before and during the financial crisis, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, is calculated based on banks' self-reported borrowing costs. But from 2006 to 2008... More »

Google May Be Hit With Antitrust Probe

FTC awaiting Justice Department move

(Newser) - Google could soon be the target of a federal antitrust probe. Officials with the Federal Trade Commission will hold off on a decision until after the Justice Department determines whether or not it will attempt to block Google’s planned acquisition of ITA Software Inc., sources tell Bloomberg . That purchase... More »

Microsoft Hits Google With Antitrust Complaint

Software giant sics European regulators on search giant

(Newser) - The war between Microsoft and Google just ratcheted up a notch: In its first-ever antitrust complaint against a competitor, Microsoft asked European regulators today to go after the search giant. Google is stunting competition and attempting to “entrench its dominance” on the Web, Microsoft complained to the European Commission.... More »

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