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THE LATEST: DOJ Price-Fixing Probe Demonstrates That Deal Risk Is Not the Only Antitrust Concern Merging Parties Should Keep in Mind

Bumble Bee Foods, and two of its senior vice presidents, have recently pled guilty to US Department of Justice (DOJ) charges that they engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of shelf-stable tuna fish sold in the United States from 2011 to 2013. Bumble Bee agreed to pay a $25 million criminal fine that can increase to $81.5 million under certain conditions, and the company’s two senior vice presidents pled guilty and agreed to pay criminal fines as well. The investigation appears to have been prompted by information that the DOJ uncovered during its investigation of Thai Union Group’s (owner of Chicken of the Sea) proposed acquisition of Bumble Bee, which was abandoned after DOJ concerns. WHAT HAPPENED: On December 19, 2014, Thai Union Group, the largest global producer of shelf-stable tuna, announced that it had agreed to acquire Bumble Bee Foods for $1.5 billion. A year later, on December 3, 2015, the DOJ announced that the parties had abandoned the...

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Coastal Water Freight Transportation Company Pleads Guilty and Pays $45 Million Fine for Price-Fixing

by Nicole L. Castle Today the Department of Justice announced that Horizon Lines LLC agreed to plead guilty and pay a $45 million fine for its involvement in price fixing coastal water freight services between the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.  This plea is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the coastal water freight transportation industry.  As a result of the investigation, five former executives have been charged and sentenced to serve prison time.     For additional information, please visit: http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2011/267605.htm

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