Monday, March 7, 2016
News America Marketing agreed last week to pay approximately $280 million to settle claims brought by advertising customers for alleged antitrust overcharges.
The settlement was announced on the first day of trial, at which Dial Corporation, Heinz, and a class of over 550 other consumer goods manufacturers sought to recover $674 million in antitrust overcharges, which would have been automatically trebled to over $2 billion under the antitrust laws.
On February 23, News America entered into settlement agreements with a few class members – Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Dannon, and Reckit Benckiser. A class-wide settlement on behalf of the remaining class members was announced on February 29 for $244 million, along with injunctive relief that would limit the duration of News America’s exclusive contracts with retailers. The total payments by News America were reported at $280 million.
The lawsuit accused News America of engaging in exclusive dealing and monopolizing the market for in-store advertising and free-standing inserts (“FSIs”) in violation of Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Several competitors previously sued News America for some of the same misconduct, and entered into sizeable settlement agreements with News America: $125 million for Insignia Systems, $500 million for Valassis, and $29.5 million for Floorgraphics.