Emerging Antitrust Issues Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Companies and Financial Institutions Must Know and Do
The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping antitrust law enforcement across the globe. Recognizing the need for a closer cooperation among private businesses, the US government seems to be more flexible now in reviewing COVID-19-related competitor collaborations. In April, both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the expedited seven-day evaluation procedure, which typically takes months for traditional business reviews.
Despite the perceived flexibility of the government, companies should not be complacent, as the DOJ and the FTC have stressed their continuous crackdown on unfair competition practices. In addition, industry changes during and after COVID-19 may bring a significant increase in antitrust activity.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has coincided with the financial markets’ transition away from LIBOR, the world’s most widely used benchmark interest rate. Selecting and implementing an alternative reference rate for legacy financial products necessarily requires industry coordination. Coordinated financial industry reforms in the past have invited antitrust scrutiny. The LIBOR transition may present similar concerns that market participants should not ignore.
Join a panel of key thought leaders and practitioners assembled by The Knowledge Group as they present an in-depth discussion of the emerging trends and developments in antitrust law enforcement in the current COVID-19-stricken landscape. Speakers will analyze critical issues and offer effective compliance tips and strategies in this evolving legal climate.
Key topics include:
- Enforcement Priority Changes Due to COVID-19
- Emerging Antitrust Issues
- LIBOR Transition
- Risk Management Strategies
- Best Compliance Practices
Dr. Robert Kneuper, Expert Economist and Expert Consultant
Info Tech, Inc.
- The economic impact of COVID 19 (discussion of the industries most impacted by COVID and changing business models and competitive conditions in those industries)
- The status of the high tech “Big Four” under COVID 19 (bottom line is they are doing well amidst the pandemic)
- Antitrust issues likely to result from COVID 19 (focus on increased M&A, monopolization cases, scrutiny of the big 4, and more 2-sided markets cases due to COVID)
Aaron Healey, Partner
- Antitrust enforcement principles and priorities in the United States have remained relatively constant during COVID.
- Competitor collaborations: FTC and DOJ introduced expedited review of competitor collaborations, but emphasized that there would be no change in the standard of antitrust enforcement.
- Collaborations that would otherwise be considered anticompetitive are still only likely to be found acceptable if one of two criteria are met: integration between parties and/or the existence of information firewalls.
- Provide examples of collaborations blessed by the Agencies—including oversight/conditions the parties agreed to.
- Merger review and litigation: Unexpected changes in consumer demand are creating impetus for mergers and acquisitions.
- Agencies aggressively challenged mergers this past year despite the pandemic.
- Reinforced that even in a challenging economic environment, they will not loosen standards (e.g., Failing/Flailing Firm) to let otherwise problematic transactions through;
- A focus on transactions involving nascent competitors as an area for aggressive action.
- Record number of challenged transactions despite pandemic and agencies’ staff working remotely.
- Potential lasting (procedural) changes in agency merger review and litigation (e.g., remote investigational hearings/depositions, remote Part 3 hearings).
- Other antitrust concerns/forward looking issues:
- Price gouging
- Continued focus on big tech (e.g., Google, Facebook litigation)
- What to expect with U.S. transition of power and changes in Agencies’ front offices.
Vikram Kapoor, Senior Managing Director
Ankura Consulting Group, LLC
Mahesh Parlikad, Partner
- Discuss LIBOR Transition, timelines:
- What is LIBOR
- Why is LIBOR being phased out / issues that LIBOR had and cases
- Discuss the types of products that are impacted (derivatives, structured products)
- Present LIBOR transition timeline
- LIBOR replacement rate options
- Forums for required industry coordination, and related antitrust considerations:
- Alternative Reference Rates Committee (the “ARRC”)
- ISDA IBOR Transition Protocol
- Department of Justice Business Review Letter “blessing” ISDA’s proposed IBOR transition related amendments to standardized documents.
- Antitrust Claims from Periods of Prior Financial Industry Coordination, Transition, and Reform:
- In connection with the markets for OTC derivatives and other instruments, allegations of:
- Price fixing
- Boycotting exchanges / denying liquidity
- Sharing information
- In connection with the markets for OTC derivatives and other instruments, allegations of:
- Cautionary tales / lessons learned from prior financial product antitrust claims for best practices in connection with LIBOR transition
Who Should Attend:
- Antitrust Lawyers and Consultants
- Class Action Lawyers
- General Counsel
- Compliance Managers
- Top Level Management
Dr. Robert Kneuper is an Expert Economist at Info Tech, Inc. and has a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Clemson University. Dr. Kneuper also serves as an adjunct professor at Charleston Southern University, where he teaches courses in managerial economics and corporate finance. Dr. Kneuper also has taught antitrust economics at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Dr. Kneuper spent over 10 years analyzing antitrust matters at the FTC where he worked extensively on a wide variety of antitrust matters. As a consultant, Dr. Kneuper has worked on numerous antitrust class action cases including price fixing cases and “pay for delay” cases.
Dr. Kneuper consults on a wide variety of applied economic and applied finance topics such as antitrust, damages, class certification, intellectual property, and regulation. His work spans a wide variety of industries including financial markets, health care, pharmaceuticals, insurance, energy, media, entertainment, transportation, real estate, internet, sports, gaming, aerospace, defense, waste collection, retail and consumer products.
Dr. Robert Kneuper is an Expert Economist at Info Tech, Inc. and has a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Clemson …
Vikram Kapoor is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura, based in New York. Mr. Kapoor has over fifteen years of experience in litigation consulting helping manage large expert and consulting engagements involving complex econometrics, valuation and quantitative finance.
Mr. Kapoor has submitted expert reports and testified in U.S. Federal Court, U.S. State Court, U.S. FINRA arbitration, Singapore International Commercial Court and Stockholm District Court. Mr. Kapoor has also submitted reports/white papers in regulatory investigations and whistle blower allegations.
Mr. Kapoor has and continues to work with dealer banks in LIBOR-based and other OTC product and related derivatives antitrust class action litigations. In this regard, he has analyzed large volumes of trade data related to credit, interest rate and foreign exchange derivative products. The data spans more than ten years and includes trade-by-trade data and bid-ask spread data produced by DTCC, Markit and individual dealer defendants. Mr. Kapoor is also active in matters related to LIBOR transition.
Vikram Kapoor is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura, based in New York. Mr. Kapoor has over fifteen years of …
Hesh Parlikad represents companies and financial institutions in all phases of litigation, including trial, arbitration, and appellate proceedings. His practice focuses on disputes involving complex financial products and securities, and he has litigated and tried novel disputes arising out of the Lehman bankruptcy concerning derivatives governed by ISDA documentation. He also has represented financial institutions in antitrust litigation concerning financial derivatives.
Hesh serves as the chair for Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement in Jones Day's New York Office. He served as president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York in 2017 and continues to serve on its Private Sector Steering Committee, comprised of law firm partners and in-house counsel from the Greater New York City Area.
Hesh Parlikad represents companies and financial institutions in all phases of litigation, including trial, arbitration, and appellate proceedings. His practice …
Aaron Healey is a litigator and trial lawyer representing clients in complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on antitrust matters. He represents clients in a wide range of industries, including health care services and pharmaceuticals, consumer products, airlines, railroads, defense technologies, and gaming.
Aaron has defended several mergers from antitrust challenges, including the successful defenses of STERIS Corporation's acquisition of Synergy Health against a challenge brought by the FTC and Cabell Huntington Hospital's acquisition of St. Mary's Medical Center from a challenge also brought by the FTC. He represented Aetna in its acquisition of Humana from a challenge brought by the DOJ.
Aaron Healey is a litigator and trial lawyer representing clients in complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on antitrust matters. …
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Method of Presentation:
On-demand Webcast (CLE)
General knowledge of antitrust laws
NY Category of CLE Credit:
Area of Professional Practice
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About Info Tech, Inc.
In 1977, professors, Dr. James T. McClave and Dr. Thomas P. Rothrock developed the first computerized methods for detecting collusive behavior in sealed bid markets through statistical and economic consulting services for the Florida Attorney General. Consequently, Info Tech ® became the pioneer in computerized techniques for detecting fraudulent business behavior in various industries.
The consulting business of Info Tech ® continues to provides expert testimony in the analysis of statistics, economics and econometrics in areas of antitrust, labor and employment discrimination and healthcare fraud among other litigation areas.
Led by President Dr. Jamie Baldwin and founder Dr. James T. McClave, the consulting business of Info Tech ® is nationally known for its unmatched ability to apply the scientific method to generate clear and professional services. Simple graphical depiction and concise explanation of complex concepts makes Info Tech ® Consulting work invaluable to clients.
About Ankura Consulting Group, LLC
Ankura is a business advisory firm defined by HOW we solve challenges. Whether a client is facing an immediate business challenge, trying to increase the value of their company or protect against future risks, Ankura designs, develops, and executes tailored solutions by assembling the right combination of expertise. We help clients navigate a wide range of corporate performance and risk management challenges, including those pertaining to compliance, investigations, forensics, technology, turnaround and restructuring, and corporate strategy. We build on this experience with every case, client, and situation, collaborating to create innovative, customized solutions, and strategies designed for today's ever-changing business environment. This gives our clients unparalleled insight and experience across a wide range of economic, governance, and regulatory challenges. At Ankura, we know that collaboration drives results. For more information, please visit www.ankura.com.