Aug 1, 2022 - Economy & Business

Biden's DOJ launches two major antitrust trials

Illustration of a gavel with many sets of emoji eyes all around it

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

A pair of major U.S. antitrust trials kicked off on Monday, even as Congress punted on passing new antitrust legislation focused on Big Tech.

Why it matters: Regulators are making waves with current rules, despite bipartisan sentiment that updates are needed.

Case #1: The Justice Department last November sued to block Penguin Random House, a unit of Germany's Bertelsmann, from buying rival book publisher Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for nearly $2.2 billion in cash.

  • This was the Biden administration's first major antitrust test that it didn't inherit, and is notable because it alleges harm is being done not to consumers, but to authors who may have fewer bidders for their work.
  • Government witnesses include Stephen King.
  • Go deeper via Axios Pro Media Deals.

Case #2: The U.S. Justice Department in February sued to stock UnitedHealth subsidiary Optum from buying Change Healthcare for $13 billion.

  • This is the Biden administration's largest antitrust case in health care.
  • Regulators argue that the merger would allow UnitedHealth to have unfair access to sensitive data from rival health insurers, and create a monopoly by marrying Change's electronic data interchange and claims editing tech with what UnitedHealth already has within its Optum business.
  • Go deeper via Axios Pro Health Tech Deals.
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