The Department of Justice intervened Friday in a landmark price-fixing suit against the country’s biggest poultry companies, possibly signaling that its own grand jury investigation into the chicken sector could result in criminal indictments. The DOJ asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to stop discovery in the class-action lawsuit brought by food distributor Maplevale Farm, saying in its motion that “a limited stay is needed to protect the grand jury’s investigation.”
Last month, the nation’s fourth-largest beef packer, National Beef, announced plans to take over Sysco-owned Iowa Premium, a regional packer focused on processing Black Angus steers for the Upper Midwest. National Beef is majority-owned by the Brazilian firm Marfrig. (No paywall)
The man that would lead the agriculture division created by the merger of U.S. giants Dow and DuPont says the companies expect to close the merger by the end of this year despite ongoing antitrust reviews, said DTN.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Glassley of Iowa said he would hold hearings next month on "a wave of consolidation among seed and chemical producers, including the merger of Dow and DuPont," the Des Moines Register reported. The announcement came one day after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the $43 billion merger of ChemChina and Swiss-based Syngenta, which has significant operations in the United States.
The Justice Department should block the Dow-DuPont merger, which would create the largest seed and ag chemical company in the world, because it would unduly reduce competition in the sector, say a trio of legal, farm and consumer groups. The merger is part of a wave of consolidations that would turn the world's six biggest seed and ag chemical companies — Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont, Dow and BASF — into "a Big 4, dominated by a Monsanto-Bayer and Dow-DuPont duopoly," said the groups in a letter to regulators.