U.S. Antitrust Chief Wayland To Step Down

The United States antitrust law prohibits anti-competitive behavior, such as monopolization, and unfair business practices that could hurt both businesses and consumers.

The acting head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Joseph Wayland, will step down as of Nov. 16, a department spokeswoman said on Thursday. Reuters reports no one has been named to be the acting assistant attorney general for antitrust, according to spokeswoman, Gina Talamona.

The Justice Department recruited Wayland in September 2010 to lead litigation efforts at the division, a hire that appears to have paid off.

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department successfully opposed AT&T Inc’s planned $39 billion deal to acquire wireless rival T-Mobile USA and stopped NASDAQ OMX Group and IntercontinentalExchange Inc from buying NYSE Euronext.

But the department reached compromises on other deals, such as Ticketmaster’s purchase of Live Nation in 2010, Google Inc’s acquisitions of ticketing software company ITA and smartphone handset maker Motorola Mobility, and Verizon Wireless’ controversial plan to buy airwaves from cable operators.

The division is looking at price-fixing in industries as disparate as auto parts, optical disk drives and the derivatives market, as well as interest-rate manipulation and whether cable companies are trying to prevent the rise of Internet video as an alternative to television.

Before coming to the Justice Department, he specialized in complex business litigation, including antitrust and securities cases.