Sysco Lawyers Speak Out Against FTC Lawsuit
HOUSTON, TX – Sysco’s lawyers have spoken out against the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) decision to block the Sysco/US Foods merger.
As we previously reported, the FTC voted yesterday 3 to 2 to block the deal along with 11 Attorneys General from California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Sysco lawyers took issue with the FTC’s claim that combined Sysco-US Foods would have a 75% share of the U.S. market for distributing food products with frequent and flexible delivery.
During a news conference, Richard Parker, an attorney representing Sysco from O’Melveny & Myers said, “If you’re in Chicago and you need food delivered, you can look at the broadline suppliers, you can look at local suppliers – there are a lot of them. There is no national market. It is pure mythology.”
Parker went on to say that there are local companies in every market that constrain price and provide options and alternatives. He added, “In challenging the merger of Sysco and US Foods, the Commission simply got it wrong… This transaction is pro-competitive. It’s good for customers, it’s good for the United States and we proceed to court with confidence.”
Sysco attorney Damian Didden of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, also spoke out about the lawsuit. According to the Tribune, he posed the question that if the merger really would create 75% market share, how could two of the five commissioners fail to find reason to believe it was anti-competitive?
The lawyers also noted that Sysco would voluntarily divest 11 distribution centers by selling them to competitor Performance Food Group to ensure competition.
The FTC is planning to try the merger case through its own administrative litigation system and set a trial date of July 21, according to the Wall Street Journal. The commission is also planning on asking a Washington, D.C. federal court to issue a preliminary injunction to block the deal while the case proceeds.
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we continue to follow this developing story.