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US: Walmart files antitrust suit against tuna giants

 |  November 2, 2016

Walmart Stores, the world’s biggest retailer, has joined a class action lawsuit alleging that the owners of the US ‘big three’ canned tuna brands colluded to keep prices artificially high.

In a 38-page complaint filed Oct. 31 that mirrors claims filed by the many other plaintiffs in the case, Walmart says it sold more than 25% of all of the packaged tuna products in the US during the 2008 to 2010 period of the alleged price-fixing conspiracy.

Like the several dozen actions already filed against Bumble Bee Foods; Thai Union Group-owned Tri-Union Seafoods, which trades as Chicken of the Sea; and Starkist, owned by South Korea’s Dongwon Enterprise, Walmart alleges that the price-fixing conspiracy was born in 2008 and involved years of close co-operation between the companies.

The suit alleges that the tuna canners’ joint “Tuna the Wonderfish” advertising campaign, co-packing of Thai Union and Bumble Bee; and the companies’ participation in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation also presented chances to collude.

The “Tuna the Wonderfish” advertising campaign, which ran from early 2011 through early 2012, was designed to stem the tide of declining sales.

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