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LCD Makers Sharp, Samsung Settle Price Fixing Charges for $538M

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 29, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Another chapter in the LCD price-fixing scandal has come to an end. Sharp and Samsung, along with Chimei Innolux, Hitachi, HannStar, Chunghwa and Epson, have agreed to settle claims brought by 8 states.

The companies were accused of operating an international cartel between 1999 and 2006, when Japan, Korea, the European Union and the United States announced a joint investigation into the matter.

Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin soon joined in, filing lawsuits that were later consolidated in the Northern District of California.

Approximately $501 million of the settlement will go to consumer refunds, according to Bloomberg. The other $37 million will compensate state governments. Samsung and Sharp will be paying the majority of the settlement, as they allegedly spearheaded the LCD price-fixing scheme.

A number of their executives, as well as those from the other companies, have already paid $890 million in criminal fines, reports Reuters. Samsung and Sharp also agreed to pay another $388 million settlement earlier this month.

While these companies seek to clean up the mess, a few others are holding out. LCD makers AU Optronics, LG and Toshiba have refused to settle, notes Bloomberg. A California class action seeking $2 billion in damages is set for trial in April 2012. Another suit, brought by Florida, is set for November 2012.

It's unclear why these companies have not agreed to settle the LCD price-fixing claims. The evidence has been strong enough to garner criminal pleas and a number of settlements. Compared to $2 billion, settling the suits probably would have been a better deal.

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