Investigation and a pending class action lawsuit against Nestle, Cadbury Schweppes, Cadbury Adams, Mars, Masterfoods, and the Hershey Company alleging an antitrust price-fixing conspiracy to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize the prices in the worldwide chocolate market, including the United States, from January 1, 2002 to the present.
The products at issue include chocolate bars, industrial chocolate (melted and powdered chocolate used as a manufacturing input) and block chocolate. The market for chocolate is highly concentrated, with the above companies controlling almost 50% of the worldwide market. Hershey's, Mars and Nestle control over 80% of the US market, according to the complaint.
The class action complaint claims that on November 21, 2007, the Superior Court of Ontario, Canada issued search warrants to Canada's Competition Bureau ("Bureau") to investigate an alleged scheme to price-fix chocolate products in Canada. According to the complaint, the search warrants require the target companies turn over reams of documents on their pricing arrangements. Nestle, Cadbury and Hershey's have publicly acknowledged that the Bureau contacted them in connection with this investigation.
The Bureau's investigation is focused on chocolate products but could expand to other types of candy, according to the complaint. On December 20, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") announced that it has begun making inquiries of chocolate companies in the United States. Mars and Nestle have acknowledged receiving inquiries from the DOJ concerning their pricing practices in the U.S. chocolate market, according to the complaint.
If you directly purchased chocolate bars, industrial chocolate and/or block chocolate from Nestle S.A., Nestle USA, Cadbury Schweppes plc, Cadbury Schweppes Americas, Cadbury Adams USA LLC, Mars Inc., Masterfoods USA and the Hershey Company during the period January 1, 2002 to the present and are interested in further discussing our case and continuing investigation please us.
Name (Stock Symbol)
Cadbury Schweppes demerged, creating Cadbury plc and Drpeppersnapple Group.
Cadbury Adams is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cadbury plc. Cadbury Adams brands include Dentyne gum, Certs breath mints, Halls cough drops, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish fish, Chiclets gum and others.
Masterfoods, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc., manufacturers food products, primarily in Australia and New Zealand.
Hershey Company (HSY)
Hershey Company manufacturers and sells chocolate, candy, gum and beverages.
Cadbury plc (CBY)
Cadbury plc engages in the confectionery business worldwide. Its confectionary products comprise cocoa powder, candy, cough drop, chewing gum, milk chocolate bar, sugar-coated gum, and breath freshener, which are marketed under Cadbury, Creme Egg, Green and Blacks, Trident, Dentyne, Hollywood, Bubbaloo, Halls, Cadbury Eclairs, Bassetts, and the Natural Confectionery Company brand names.
Nestle, S.A. (NESN.VX)
Nestle, S.A. manufacturers a range of consumer products.
Mars, Inc. manufactures snack food, pet food, other food products and beverages under 100 separate brand names.
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