SPRINGDALE, ARK. – Tyson Foods Inc. has reached an agreement in the broiler chicken antitrust civil price fixing litigation brought against the company, as well as many other poultry processors, to pay $221.5 million. The settlement will be reflected in the company’s first-quarter financial statement.
The settlement comes shortly after Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Greeley, Colo., agreed to pay $75 million on Jan. 11. Both companies did not admit liability as part of the settlements.
The settlement relates to “In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation” that claims that as far back as Jan. 1, 2008, poultry processors conspired to fix prices by coordinating production. The claims were made by foodservice, institutional and retail buyers of chicken.
“(Tyson Foods) believes that the settlements were in the best interests of the company and its shareholders in order to avoid the uncertainty, risk, expense and distraction of protracted litigation,” the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Other poultry processors named as defendants in the suit include Amick Farms, Case Farms, Claxton Poultry, Fieldale Farms, Foster Farms, George’s, Harrison Poultry, House of Raeford Farms, Koch Foods, Mar-Jac Poultry, Mountaire Farms, OK Foods, Peco Foods, Perdue Farms, Sanderson Farms, Simmons Foods and Wayne Farms.
Amick Farms, Fieldale Farms, George’s, Peco Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride have all reached settlement agreements with the plaintiffs.
The civil price fixing case is not related to another cased where a grand jury in the US District Court of Denver indicted four executives at Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Poultry, Claxton, Ga., for their alleged role in a conspiracy to fix prices. In that case, Tyson Foods said it is cooperating with the investigation.
After receiving a grand jury subpoena in April 2019, Tyson management said it uncovered troubling information about its operations related to the investigation and self-reported it to the Department of Justice. The company is hoping to escape punishment under the DOJ Antitrust Division’s leniency program.