Anti-competition laws are regulations designed to promote fair competition in the marketplace and prevent businesses from engaging in anti-competitive practices that harm consumers and limit competition.
One specific area where these laws are frequently applied is in the context of merger and acquisition transactions.
When two companies merge or one company acquires another, the resulting entity may have significant market power in the relevant industry. This can be problematic if the new entity uses that power to limit competition, raise prices, or otherwise harm consumers. To prevent this from happening, governments often have laws in place that regulate mergers and acquisitions to ensure that they do not create or enhance a monopoly or otherwise harm competition.
Here are few deals that were blocked or were raised concerns for by regulators
1) Microsoft & Activision: This deal got recently blocked by the UK regulators and is under scrutiny by the regulators in the US and Europe.
Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard would have a significant impact on the gaming industry. The proposed acquisition, which is valued at $68.7 billion, would make it one of the largest acquisitions in the gaming industry to date. While it would not create a monopoly in the gaming industry, it would significantly increase Microsoft's market share and influence in the industry.
Currently, Microsoft is one of the major players in the gaming industry, primarily through its Xbox console and related gaming services. Activision Blizzard, on the other hand, is a major player in the video game industry, with popular franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.
If the acquisition is approved, Microsoft would gain control over all of these franchises and the many millions of gamers who play them. This would give Microsoft a much larger share of the gaming market, as well as a significant advantage over its competitors.
2) AT&T and T-Mobile: In 2011, AT&T attempted to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion, which would have created the largest mobile phone provider in the United States. However, the deal was blocked by the US Department of Justice due to concerns that it would reduce competition in the wireless market.
3) Comcast and Time Warner Cable: In 2014, Comcast attempted to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, which would have given it control over a significant portion of the cable and broadband market. However, the deal was ultimately abandoned due to concerns from regulators and the public about the potential impact on competition and consumer choice.
4) Staples and Office Depot: In 2016, Staples attempted to acquire Office Depot for $6.3 billion, which would have combined the two largest office supply retailers in the United States. However, the deal was blocked by a federal judge due to concerns that it would harm competition in the office supply market.
5) Qualcomm and NXP: In 2018, Qualcomm attempted to acquire NXP Semiconductors for $44 billion, which would have created one of the largest chip makers in the world. However, the deal was abandoned due to concerns from Chinese regulators, who were worried about the impact on competition and innovation in the semiconductor industry.
6) Walmart and Flipkart: In 2018, Walmart acquired a majority stake in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart for $16 billion. However, the deal faced significant opposition from Indian retailers, who argued that it would create unfair competition and harm their businesses. The deal was eventually approved by regulators, but with several conditions aimed at protecting small retailers.
7) Sun Pharmaceutical and Ranbaxy: In 2014, Sun Pharmaceutical acquired Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories for $4 billion, creating the largest pharmaceutical company in India. However, the deal faced regulatory scrutiny due to concerns about the impact on competition and consumer choice. As a condition of the approval, Sun Pharmaceutical agreed to divest several products and reduce its market share in certain areas.
8) Holcim and Lafarge: In 2015, Holcim and Lafarge, two of the world's largest cement producers, announced a merger that would create the largest cement company in India. However, the deal faced regulatory scrutiny and was eventually abandoned due to concerns about the impact on competition in the cement industry.