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PHILLIP H. WARREN
RICHARD B. COHEN
MICHAEL L. SCOTT
NIALL E. LYNCH
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
450 Golden Gate Avenue
Box 36046, Room 10-0101
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 436-6660

Attorneys for the United States

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,    

                  v.

PFIZER, INC.,

               Defendant.


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Cr. No.: 99-0276
Filed: July 19, 1999

VIOLATIONS:
Title 15, United States Code,
Section 1 -- Price Fixing and
Customer and Territorial
Allocation

(San Francisco Venue)



INFORMATION

COUNT ONE - CONSPIRACY TO RESTRAIN TRADE IN SODIUM ERYTHORBATE

(15 U.S.C. § 1)

The United States of America, acting through its attorneys, charges:

I.

DESCRIPTION OF THE OFFENSE

1. PFIZER, INC. is made a defendant on the charge stated below.

2. From in or about July 1992 until in or about December 1994, defendant PFIZER and co-conspirators participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of sodium erythorbate to be sold in the United States. The combination and conspiracy engaged in by the defendant and co-conspirators was in unreasonable restraint of interstate trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).

3. The charged combination and conspiracy consisted of a continuing agreement, understanding, and concert of action among the conspirators, the substantial terms of which were to agree to fix and maintain prices and to coordinate price increases for the sale of sodium erythorbate in the United States.

4. For the purpose of forming and carrying out the charged combination and conspiracy, the defendants and co-conspirators did those things that they combined and conspired to do, including, among other things:

  1. participating in meetings and conversations to discuss the prices of sodium erythorbate to be sold in the United States;

  2. agreeing, during those meetings and conversations, to charge prices at certain levels and otherwise to increase and maintain prices of sodium erythorbate to be sold in the United States;

  3. agreeing, during those meetings and conversations, to allocate market shares of sodium erythorbate in the United States; and

  4. issuing price announcements and price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached.

II.

DEFENDANTS AND CO-CONSPIRATORS

5. PFIZER is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of Delaware. During the period covered by this Information, PFIZER was engaged in the business of producing and selling sodium erythorbate to customers in the United States.

6. Various corporations and individuals, not made defendants in this Information, participated as co-conspirators in the offense charged herein and performed acts and made statements in furtherance of it.

7. Whenever in this Information reference is made to any act, deed, or transaction of any corporation, the allegation means that the corporation engaged in the act, deed, or transaction by or through its officers, directors, employees, agents, or other representatives while they were actively engaged in the management, direction, control, or transaction of its business or affairs.

III.

TRADE AND COMMERCE

8. Sodium erythorbate is a chemical food preservative.

9. During the period covered by this Information, the defendant and co-conspirators sold and distributed sodium erythorbate in a continuous and uninterrupted flow of interstate commerce to customers located in states or countries other than the states or countries in which the defendant and co-conspirators produced sodium erythorbate.

10. The business activities of the defendant and co-conspirators that are the subject of this Information were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate trade and commerce.

IV.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

11. The combination and conspiracy charged in this Information was carried out, in part, in the Northern District of California, within the five years preceding the filing of this Information.

ALL IN VIOLATION OF TITLE 15, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 1.

COUNT TWO - CONSPIRACY TO RESTRAIN TRADE IN MALTOL

(15 U.S.C. § 1)

The United States of America, acting through its attorneys, charges:

I.

DESCRIPTION OF THE OFFENSE

12. PFIZER is made a defendant on the charge stated below.

13. From in or about December 1989 until in or about December 1995, defendant PFIZER and co-conspirators participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating the customers and territories for maltol to be sold in the United States and elsewhere. The combination and conspiracy engaged in by the defendant and co-conspirators was in unreasonable restraint of interstate trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).

14. The charged combination and conspiracy consisted of a continuing agreement, understanding, and concert of action among the conspirators, the substantial terms of which were to agree to allocate the customers and territories for maltol to be sold in the United States and elsewhere.

15. For the purpose of forming and carrying out the charged combination and conspiracy, the defendant and co-conspirators did those things that they combined and conspired to do, including, among other things:

  1. participating in meetings and conversations to discuss the allocation of customers and territories for maltol to be sold in the United States and elsewhere; and

  2. agreeing, during those meetings and conversations, to allocate customers and territories for maltol to be sold in the United States and elsewhere.

II.

DEFENDANTS AND CO-CONSPIRATORS

16. PFIZER is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of Delaware. During the period covered by this Information, PFIZER was engaged in the business of producing and selling maltol to customers in the United States and elsewhere.

17. Various corporations and individuals, not made defendants in this Information, participated as co-conspirators in the offense charged herein and performed acts and made statements in furtherance of it.

18. Whenever in this Information reference is made to any act, deed, or transaction of any corporation, the allegation means that the corporation engaged in the act, deed, or transaction by or through its officers, directors, employees, agents, or other representatives while they were actively engaged in the management, direction, control, or transaction of its business or affairs.

III.

TRADE AND COMMERCE

19. Maltol is a chemical food-flavoring agent and includes the products ethyl maltol and methyl maltol.

20. During the period covered by this Information, the defendant and co-conspirators sold and distributed maltol in a continuous and uninterrupted flow of interstate commerce to customers located in states or countries other than the states or countries in which the defendant and co-conspirators produced maltol.

21. The business activities of the defendant and co-conspirators that are the subject of this Information were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate trade and commerce.

IV.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

22. The combination and conspiracy charged in this Information was carried out, in part, in the Northern District of California, within the five years preceding the filing of this Information.

ALL IN VIOLATION OF TITLE 15, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 1.


_______________/s/________________
Joel I. Klein
Assistant Attorney General

_______________/s/________________
Gary R. Spratling
Deputy Assistant Attorney General




_______________/s/________________
James M. Griffin
Director of Criminal Enforcement





_______________/s/________________
Robert S. Mueller, III
United States Attorney
Northern District of California

_______________/s/________________
Christopher S Crook
Chief, San Francisco Office

_______________/s/________________
Phillip H. Warren
Richard B. Cohen
Michael L. Scott
Niall E. Lynch

Attorneys

U.S. Department of Justice
Antitrust Division
450 Golden Gate Avenue
Box 36046, Room 10-0101
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 436-6660