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Industry: Natural Resources

Gold and Silver price fixing suits may be expensive for banks

The Southern District of New York recently denied motions to dismiss filed by several banks that allegedly conspired to manipulate the price of gold and silver.  Only defendant UBS was successful in convincing the court that the allegations against it failed to state a plausible antitrust claim.


Antitrust Lessons from Oil Giants’ Proposed Merger

In perhaps an unsurprising move, last week the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit challenging the merger of Halliburton and Baker Hughes, the first and third largest oilfield services companies in the United States and the world.  The DOJ alleges the transaction would threaten to “eliminate competition, raise prices and reduce innovation in the oilfield services industry.”


Fifth Circuit Considers Independent Conduct in Vertical Agreements to Facilitate Horizontal Conspiracy

On November 25, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the $156 million antitrust judgment in MM Steel, L.P. v. JSW Steel (USA) Incorporated; Nucor Corporation, upholding a jury verdict that found one defendant steel manufacturer (JSW Steel) liable for participation in an illegal conspiracy to block distributor MM Steel from entering the market.  The Court of Appeals reversed the jury verdict as to defendant Nucor, another steel manufacturer.  In so doing, the Fifth Circuit identified evidence that does—and does not—tend to exclude the possibility of independent conduct for purposes of finding a violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act.  The court also underscored that per se liability (and not the rule of reason) attaches to horizontal conspirators’ use of vertical agreements to shut competitors out of the market.


Extraterritorial Reach of Antitrust Laws: The FSIA

We have written extensively about the scope of the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvement Acts and the extraterritorial reach of U.S. antitrust laws.  Now, the scope of the U.S. antitrust laws has arisen in a different context: the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”).