Pricing algorithms are nothing new. They are, generally speaking, computer programs intended to help sellers optimize prices in real time, or close to it. These programs can use data on demand, costs, or even competitors’ prices to “learn” to set the prices of products. What is new is the proliferation of these programs across industries and the emergence of artificial intelligence-driven pricing algorithms. 

The Federal Trade Commission has announced revisions to HSR Act and Clayton Act Section 8 thresholds, which are indexed annually in alignment with prior year economic activity. The article identifies the adjustments that are likely to be the most relevant to our clients and reiterates several important practice tips.

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On December 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the 2023 Merger Guidelines. Following a 60-day public comment period that solicited over 30,000 comments from a variety of stakeholders, the finalized guidelines take a somewhat softer approach than the draft guidelines

With great promise comes great scrutiny. As artificial intelligence (“AI”) has become part of industries’ and individuals’ daily repertoire, it has also come under focus by antitrust regulators. The DOJ, in its so-called “Project Gretzky,” is gearing up with data scientists and others to be a tech-savvy version

If a request for legal advice goes unanswered, is it really a request for legal advice?  According to the U.S. Department of Justice and several state attorneys general (“DOJ Plaintiffs”) in an antitrust action against Google, United States, et. al. v. Google, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the answer to this question should be “no,” at least where the unanswered request for legal advice is part of an internal company practice intended to conceal sensitive, non-privileged documents from discovery.

If you ever noticed a coupon dispenser or colorful cardboard display while walking down the aisle of your local supermarket, there is a good chance it was put there by News Corp.’s News America Marketing (NAM) – in-store marketing’s dominant player.  News Corp.’s dominance, however, was allegedly the result of anticompetitive conduct, according to its former competitor Valassis Communications, Inc.  In a 2017 lawsuit, Valassis alleged that News Corp.’s practice of “staggering” the expiration date of exclusive contracts with retailers violated, among other things, sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and section 3 of the Clayton Act, and resulted in preventing Valassis from establishing itself as a viable competitor. After four years of litigation, the case finally went to trial last month, but the parties settled after the jury indicated it would be unable to reach a verdict.  Nevertheless, Valassis’ allegations raise an interesting question: what supporting facts and allegations might suggest staggered exclusive contracts constitute anticompetitive conduct?

Before plaintiffs could light the pilot on antitrust claims against two propane tank distributors, a split Eighth Circuit panel cut the gas. In doing so, the majority espoused a narrow view of the applicability of the continuing violations theory in antitrust litigation.

In 2014, following an FTC administrative complaint, class plaintiffs brought suit against defendant distributors Ferrellgas and AmeriGas, alleging that in 2008, facing rising costs of propane, the distributors conspired to reduce the fill level of 20-pound propane tanks from 17 pounds to 15 pounds while maintaining the price. Though a separate group of indirect purchasers settled with Defendants regarding similar claims in 2008, Plaintiffs argued that Defendants’ conspiracy continued, and that Defendants continued to sell the propane tanks at higher prices and at lower fill levels long after the settlements.

Since 2008, cable customers have been suing cable operators across the country claiming operators violate the antitrust laws by forcing customers to lease set-top boxes from the operator to access “premium” cable services. Plaintiffs claim that the operators have “tied” one product (the service) to another product (the box) and