U.S. Sugar Can Buy Imperial, Judge Rules

Sept. 23, 2022
The Justice Department had tried to stop the deal on antitrust grounds.

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the acquisition of Imperial Sugar by U.S. Sugar, overturning the deal’s rejection by the U.S. Justice Department.

District Judge Maryellen Noreika, based in Delaware, issued a one-page judgment Sept. 23 stating that the sale would not violate antitrust law. She didn’t immediately release a full opinion for fear of revealing the defendants’ business secrets.

The deal was announced in March 2021. The Justice Department filed a civil suit in November to block the deal, arguing that the transaction would "leave an overwhelming majority of refined sugar sales across the Southeast in the hands of only two producers.”

The defendants argued that these concerns were misplaced because sugar is easy to transport, and that the merger would benefit consumers by increasing efficiency.

The Justice Department did not immediately say whether it would appeal Noreika's ruling.

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