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StarKist and Former Bumble Bee Foods Owner Settle US Price-Fixing Suit

 |  June 27, 2024

StarKist, a prominent US seafood company, along with its South Korean parent company, Dongwon Industries, and Lion Capital, the former owner of Bumble Bee Foods, have reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit over alleged price-fixing of canned tuna. The settlement was finalized on Tuesday, June 25, according to a court filing in the US District Court for the Southern District of California.

The lawsuit accused StarKist and Bumble Bee Foods of colluding to fix the price of canned tuna between late 2011 and late 2013. The allegations were part of a broader investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) into anti-competitive practices within the seafood industry. StarKist pleaded guilty to the charges in 2018, and Bumble Bee also admitted to the charges and submitted a guilty plea.

The settlement resolves suits brought by both end-payer and direct-purchaser plaintiffs. The specific terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but plaintiffs had been seeking damages up to $1 billion.

The resolution marks a significant chapter in a lengthy legal battle that has seen substantial scrutiny of the canned tuna market. Bumble Bee Foods declared bankruptcy in 2019, in part due to the financial pressures resulting from the legal challenges and fines related to the price-fixing scandal.

This settlement follows a series of legal actions and settlements within the industry, underscoring the importance of fair competition and regulatory oversight in maintaining market integrity.

Source: Just Food