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U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, in an antitrust cast brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, ruled yesterday that H&R Block could not purchase another major manufacturer of tax-preparation software.
The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director for Public Knowledge:
“This case proves that antitrust law is alive, well and relevant to AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile. The judge in the H&R Block case ruled that one of the largest companies in a competitive industry could not buy out a competitor, particularly when that competitor is seen as a maverick within that industry.
“The judge agreed with the Justice Department that a market dominated by the two biggest companies is not sufficiently competitive. We agree. Whether the market is tax-filing software or the wireless industry, the principles are the same.
“The fact that the opinion has not been released because of the large amount of confidential data presented in court filings means that those who on the surface think the Justice Department has a weak case in the AT&T matter would do well to remember we don’t know all that has been filed.”