US sues to halt sugar merger, says it would harm competition

Nov 22, 2021, 6:38 PM | Updated: Nov 24, 2021, 3:55 pm
FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a Tribal Nations Summit during Native America...

FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a Tribal Nations Summit during Native American Heritage Month, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Nov. 15, 2021, in Washington. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, Nov. 23, seeking to block a major U.S. sugar manufacturer from acquiring its rival, arguing that allowing the deal would harm competition and consumers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to block a major U.S. sugar manufacturer from acquiring its rival, arguing that allowing the deal would harm competition and consumers.

The suit was filed in federal court in Delaware. It comes about eight months after U.S. Sugar announced it reached an agreement to acquire the Imperial Sugar Company, one of the largest sugar refiners in the nation.

The lawsuit is the latest example of the Justice Department’s approach to aggressive enforcement of federal antitrust law that officials say is aimed at ensuring a fair and competitive market. It comes months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to vigorously enforce 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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to challenge anticompetitive mergers that would harm American consumers and businesses alike.”

U.S. Sugar said it plans to fight the lawsuit. It argued that the acquisition will increase production and distribution of refined sugar and provide a more secure supply.

“This transaction will improve supply chain logistics and will not result in higher prices or any harm to customers and consumers,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to making our case in court.”

The Justice Department disagreed. It says the proposed acquisition would “further consolidate an already concentrated market for refined sugar.” It would cut down on competition, leaving only the new consolidated company and one other major sugar company selling a significant share of refined sugar in the southeastern U.S., the Justice Department contends.

The Justice Department says U.S. Sugar, which operates a large refinery in Florida, sells all of its sugar through a marketing cooperative known as the United Sugars Corporation. Imperial Sugar operates a refinery in Savannah, Georgia and a sugar transfer and liquidation facility in Ludlow, Kentucky.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who leads the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said the companies were “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 said.

The companies announced the acquisition in March, saying that it would return Imperial Sugar to all-American ownership. Imperial Sugar is a subsidiary of Louis Dreyfus Company, which is headquartered in the Netherlands. The Justice Department says Imperial Sugar’s revenues were over $700 million in 2020.

When the acquisition was announced, the companies said it would help expand production and reduce manufacturing costs and would increase the security of the U.S. sugar supply. The companies also said a new combined company would offer better competition and expand distribution in the U.S.

Representatives for Imperial Sugar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Among the least graphic signage used by anti-abortion activists are these two that face the parking...
Associated Press

At historic abortion arguments, conservatives signal changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority are suggesting they may make sweeping changes to limit abortion rights in the United States. The high court is hearing arguments Wednesday in which the justices are being asked to overrule the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and its 1992 ruling […]
12 hours ago
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy listens as President Joe Biden spe...
Associated Press

Fauci: 1st US case of COVID-19 omicron variant identified

WASHINGTON (AP) — A person in California became the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the COVID-19 omicron variant, the White House announced Wednesday as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new strain of the virus. The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from Southern […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Jacqueline Avant, wife of music legend, killed in shooting

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Jacqueline Avant, a Los Angeles philanthropist and the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was fatally shot in Beverly Hills, California, early Wednesday, according to authorities and a Netflix spokeswoman. Netflix spokeswoman Emily Feingold confirmed that Jacqueline Avant was killed in the shooting. Avant’s daughter, Nicole, is married to Ted […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Review: Leaving the Children of God ‘sex cult’

NEW YORK (AP) — “Sex Cult Nun” by Faith Jones (William Morrow) Faith Jones’ vivid memoir “Sex Cult Nun” chronicles her 23 years in the infamous Children of God cult and her slow journey to leave. Born into the cult in 1977 in Hong Kong, Jones was cult royalty, the granddaughter of leader David Berg. […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Review: Leaving the Children of God ‘sex cult’

NEW YORK (AP) — “Sex Cult Nun” by Faith Jones (William Morrow) Faith Jones’ vivid memoir “Sex Cult Nun” chronicles her 23 years in the infamous Children of God cult and her slow journey to leave. Born into the cult in 1977 in Hong Kong, Jones was cult royalty, the granddaughter of leader David Berg. […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

WHO nations launch steps toward deal to fight pandemics

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization hailing a key step by its member states on Wednesday to launch work toward an international agreement to help prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics in the wake of COVID-19. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the consensus decision during a special session […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
US sues to halt sugar merger, says it would harm competition