Data Privacy & Security Data Privacy & Security

Comment: Opposition to Google's Fitbit move leaves Australia as a global M&A outlier

By Laurel Henning and James Panichi
  • 25 Mar 2021 22:46
  • 29 Mar 2021 21:08
When Australia’s competition watchdog first placed Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of smartwatch maker Fitbit under the microscope, the review was emblematic of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s drive for greater international cooperation on global deals.

The ACCC deliberately aligned its deadlines with those of other jurisdictions and Australia’s top enforcement official, Rod

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Laurel Henning

Senior Correspondent


Laurel is a senior correspondent specializing in competition law, data privacy and security, in Australia and New Zealand. Laurel reports from Sydney on criminal-cartel legislation and white-collar crime, as well as competition and consumer lawsuits involving companies including Google, Meta Platforms and Apple. While at MLex Laurel has also reported boardroom disputes and shareholder campaigns agitating for changes to company strategy. Laurel joined MLex in 2013 and reported for five years on European energy and climate policies from Brussels. In that time, Laurel covered the regulation of emissions and technological developments pertaining to the energy sector within the EU, as well as the Paris agreement in 2015. A graduate of the University of Liverpool, Laurel studied English and French before beginning a career in journalism with MLex.

James Panichi

Senior Editor, Asia Pacific


James, an Australian journalist with over 25 years’ experience in print and electronic media, helps to oversee MLex’s coverage of regulatory risk in Asia, with special attention to Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, James was appointed as MLex’s managing editor for continental Europe, overseeing the Brussels bureau’s coverage of EU regulatory affairs and managing a team of 16 journalists in Brussels and Geneva. Previously James worked for the European Voice newspaper, before joining the European operation of US political website Politico as an investigative reporter specializing in governance, transparency and lobbying.

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