To settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it engaged in deceptive and unfair practices, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) has agreed to an order requiring substantial changes in the firm’s operations that will benefit small- and mid-sized businesses. Under the proposed order, D&B will also provide refunds to certain businesses that purchased the company’s products in the belief that using the products would improve their business credit scores and ratings.
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Red Ventures and Bankrate agreed to divest Bankrate’s Caring.com business unit to settle FTC charges that their $1.4 billion merger would likely harm competition in the market for third-party paid referral service for senior living facilities. According to a complaint filed by the FTC, Red Ventures and Bankrate supply proprietary internet content and customer leads for a variety of industries. Caring.com is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bankrate, while two of Red Ventures’ largest shareholders jointly own A Place for Mom.com, the largest provider of such services. According to FTC’s complaint, Caring.com and A Place for Mom.com are each other’s closest competitors, competing for national and local business. The complaint alleges that the two Red Venture shareholders have the collective ability to significantly influence management of Red Venture and Caring.com. Thus, if consummated, the transaction may increase the chance for Red Ventures to unilaterally exercise market power and the potential for coordinated interaction between Caring.com and A Place for Mom. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the parties will divest Caring.com no later than six months after the acquisition and provide transition services to an FTC-approved buyer.
The American Guild of Organists agreed to eliminate rules that restrict its members from competing for opportunities to perform to settle charges that the guild’s rules restrained competition and harmed consumers in violation of the FTC Act. The guild represents approximately 15,000 member organists and choral directors in 300 chapters in the US and abroad. Under the guild’s code of ethics, if a consumer wished to have someone other than an “incumbent musician” play at a venue for a wedding, funeral or other service, the consumer was required to pay both the incumbent and the consumer’s chosen musician. The code of ethics stated that “members are advised to protect themselves as incumbents” through contracts that secure fees even if they don’t perform. The guild also developed and publicized compensation schedules and formulas, and instructed its chapters and members to develop and use regionally applicable versions to determine charges for their services. The Commission's consent order requires the American Guild of Organists to stop restraining its members from soliciting work as musicians, and to stop issuing compensation schedules, guidance, or model contract provisions for members to use to determine their compensation. The guild must implement an antitrust compliance program, and is required under the order to stop recognizing chapters that fail to certify their compliance with the order’s provisions.
Joint Comment of the Federal Trade Commission Staff and the Antitrust Division to North Carolina State Senator Bill Cook on North Carolina HB 436 Concerning Online Legal Forms and the Practice of Law
Federal Antitrust Agencies Submit Joint Statement to the North Carolina General Assembly on Legislation Regarding Online Legal Forms
Rangers Renal Holding, LP; US Renal Care, Inc.; Dialysis Parent, LLC and Dialysis HoldCo, LLC, In the Matter of
To settle charges that its acquisition of DSI Renal would substantially lessen competition for outpatient dialysis services in Laredo, Texas, U.S. Renal agreed to divest three clinics to Satellite Healthcare, Inc.
The National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) agreed to remove provisions in its Code of Ethics that the FTC charged limit competition among its members. The consent order settling the FTC’s allegations requires NAAB to end certain advertising restrictions, remove references to the restrictions from its website and official documents, publish and distribute an announcement regarding the consent agreement and the resulting changes to the Code of Ethics, and implement an antitrust compliance program.
An association representing skating teachers agreed to eliminate provisions in its bylaws that the FTC alleged limit competition among the association’s members. In its complaint, the FTC charged that the Professional Skaters Association, through its code of ethics, broadly bans members from soliciting other members’ students, and thereby deprives consumers of the benefits of competition among the 6,400 ice skating teachers and coaches who are members. According to the complaint, the PSA instructed its members that this code provision prohibited coaches from many types of direct and indirect communications with skaters and parents, and actively enforced the ban through a variety of penalties, including suspension, even over the objections of skating students and their parents who wanted to switch coaches. The consent order settling the FTC’s charges requires the Professional Skaters Association to stop restraining its members from soliciting work and competing on the basis of price. It also requires the group to change its code of ethics, publicize its settlement with the FTC, and implement an antitrust compliance program.
An association representing electricians agreed to eliminate provisions in its bylaws that the FTC charged limit competition among each association’s members. The FTC alleged that the purpose and effect of the association's bylaws has been to restrain competition by discouraging and restricting competition among PLASMA members. The consent order settling the FTC’s charges requires PLASMA to revise its bylaws, publicize its settlement with the FTC, and implement an antitrust compliance program.
Service Corporation International (SCI), the nation’s largest provider of funeral and cemetery services,agreed to sell 53 funeral homes and 38 cemeteries to resolve FTC charges that its proposed $1.4 billion acquisition of Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (Stewart) is likely to substantially lessen competition in 59 communities throughout the United States. The FTC complaint alleges the deal as proposed would eliminate direct competition between the two firms. The FTC charges that the proposed deal would enable the merged firm unilaterally to raise prices charged to consumers in these local markets and would substantially increase the risk of collusion between SCI and the few remaining competitors in the affected local areas. The proposed order settling the FTC’s charges requires SCI and Stewart to sell the 53 funeral homes and 38 cemeteries to Commission-approved buyers within 180 days, and also requires SCI and Stewart to sell certain related assets and property needed to ensure that the buyers will be able to fully replicate the competition that would have been lost if the transaction were completed as proposed.
The National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (NATS) has agreed to eliminate provisions in its code of ethics that limit competition among its members. The FTC charged that NATS, which represents more than 7,300 vocal arts teachers in the United States, restrained competition in violation of the FTC Act through a code of ethics provision that prohibits members from soliciting students from other members. The order settling the FTC’s complaint against NATS requires that it stop restraining members from seeking teaching work, and stop telling its members that soliciting students is unethical. The order also requires NATS to obtain a certification from each of its chapters that the chapter is not restricting solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition by its members, and to sever its ties with any chapter that NATS learns is restraining solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition by its members. NATS also must implement an antitrust compliance program.
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