U.S. Sugar finalizes $315M purchase of Imperial Sugar Co. as feds look to block sale

sugar cane (Large)
U.S. Sugar plans to utilize an Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia to help refine more sugarcane.

U.S. Sugar has filed court documents showing the company has completed a $315 million purchase of Imperial Sugar Co., according to a report from the News Service of Florida.

But the federal government is still attempting to block the sale.

On Sept. 23, U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika rejected an effort by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to place an injunction on the deal going forward. As the DOJ moved forward with an appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Sugar has now submitted a filing saying the sale has been finalized.

U.S. Sugar plans to utilize an Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia to help refine more sugarcane. The company is slated to upgrade equipment at that facility going forward.

But a DOJ brief argues that acquisition of the Georgia plant raises antitrust concerns under the Clayton Act, according to material cited by the News Service of Florida.

“The merger at issue in this case involves a leading Florida-based sugar refiner’s acquisition of its major rival’s Georgia-based refinery,” DOJ attorneys wrote in a Nov. 1 brief. “As the government has established, the merger threatens precisely the harm that (a section of the Clayton Act) proscribes: substantially lessening competition in the market for the production and sale of refined sugar.”

U.S. Sugar announced the plan to purchase Imperial Sugar Co. from Louis Dreyfus Co. in March 2021. With the sale now completed, U.S. Sugar is pushing the appellate court to accept the lower court’s findings.

“The record in this case is long and detailed, involving fact-intensive questions about the commercial realities of the U.S. sugar industry,” read a brief by U.S. Sugar.

“The district court’s decision turned on extensive findings of fact and credibility determinations. The district court had the opportunity to study the record for months, and to observe and question the witnesses at a four-day trial. The government lost that trial on the facts.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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