WASHINGTON — The Justice Division filed a lawsuit on Tuesday searching for to block a significant U.S. sugar producer from buying its rival, arguing that permitting the deal would harm competition and shoppers.
The go well with was filed in federal courtroom in Delaware. It comes about eight months after U.S. Sugar introduced it reached an settlement to purchase the Imperial Sugar Firm, one of many largest sugar refiners within the nation.
The lawsuit is the newest instance of the Justice Division’s method to aggressive enforcement of federal antitrust legislation that officers say is geared toward making certain a good and aggressive market. It comes months after President Joe Biden signed an government order that known as on the Justice Division and Federal Commerce Fee to vigorously implement antitrust statutes and promote market competition.
“Robust antitrust enforcement is an essential pillar of the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring economic opportunity and fairness for all,” Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland stated in a press release. “We will not hesitate to challenge anticompetitive mergers that would harm American consumers and businesses alike.”
The Justice Division argues that the proposed acquisition would “further consolidate an already concentrated market for refined sugar.” It would minimize down on competition, leaving solely the brand new consolidated firm and one different main sugar firm promoting a major share of refined sugar within the southeastern U.S., the Justice Division contends.
The Justice Division says U.S. Sugar, which operates a big refinery in Florida, sells all of its sugar via a advertising cooperative often called the United Sugars Company. Imperial Sugar operates a refinery in Savannah, Georgia and a sugar switch and liquidation facility in Ludlow, Kentucky.
Assistant Legal professional Normal Jonathan Kanter, who leads the Justice Division’s antitrust division, stated the businesses have been “seeking to further consolidate an already cozy sugar industry.”
“Their merger would eliminate aggressive competition in the supply of refined sugar that leads to lower prices, better quality, and more reliable service,” he stated.
The businesses introduced the acquisition in March, saying that it would return Imperial Sugar to all-American possession. Imperial Sugar is a subsidiary of Louis Dreyfus Firm, which is headquartered within the Netherlands. The Justice Division says Imperial Sugar’s revenues have been over $700 million in 2020.
When the acquisition was introduced, the businesses stated it would assist develop manufacturing and scale back manufacturing prices and would improve the safety of the U.S. sugar provide. The businesses additionally stated a brand new mixed firm would provide higher competition and develop distribution within the U.S.
Representatives for the 2 firms didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.