Starskit Co. pleaded guilty to felony price-fixing and was fined $100 million dollars by the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. The company and three other seafood providers colluded and agreed to keep the price of canned tuna high by conspiring, which began in November, 2011.
StarKist is owned by South Korean company, Dongwon Industries, and is one of the world leaders in regards to tuna distributing. StarKist, Chicken of the Sea, and Bumble Bee Foods all took part in the collusion. According to NPR, the three companies control about 80 percent of the U.S. canned tuna market. Last year, Bumble Bee Foods pleaded guilty to the same charge and paid a $25 million fine. So far, six charges have been filed from the investigation.
Two former Bumble Bee executives, and a former StarKist executive have been found guilty of price-fixing thus far. Walmart, Kroger, Wegmans, and Albertsons have also joined a class action suit against the three companies. Lastly, the three guilty companies involved have all agreed to fully cooperate with the Justice Department.