Thursday, February 9, 2023
Price-Fixing Allegations in the Canned Tuna Industry: A Look at the Data
In December of 2014, Thai Union, the parent company of Chicken of the Sea canned tuna announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Bumble Bee tuna from Lion Capital. In the course of standard merger review, the Department of Justice subpoenaed the merging parties as well as the parent company of StarKist in order to investigate possible collusion among the major producers of canned tuna. This led to several class action lawsuits and a criminal conviction for price fixing. This paper describes how these firms were alleged to have colluded and uses retail scanner data to document how prices and promotional activity changed while the cartel was in operation. Avenues for future research are discussed.