On March 16, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and New York State Attorney General announced that they reached a settlement with Coach USA Inc., City Sights LLC and their joint venture, Twin America LLC, to remedy competition concerns in the New York City hop-on, hop-off bus tour market. This case is noteworthy because it is the first time the DOJ’s Antitrust Division sought and obtained disgorgement in a consummated merger matter.
In March of 2009, Twin America, LLC was formed by Coach USA, Inc. and City Sights, LLC. Coach USA and City Sights were operators of double-decker tour buses that had aggressively competed against each other to attract customers, which were and are for the most part, visitors/sightseers in New York city. Indeed, the Antitrust Division’s complaint alleged that prior to the formation of Twin America, LLC, Coach USA, the long-standing market leader through its “Gray Line New York” brand, and City Sights, a firm that launched the “City Sights NY” brand in 2005, accounted for approximately 99 percent of the hop-on, hop-off bus tour market in New York City. Between 2005 and early 2009, the two companies engaged in vigorous head-to-head competition on price and product offerings that directly benefited consumers.