George’s Inc. has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust division expedite the civil lawsuit that challenged the company’s recent acquisition of a chicken processing complex in Harrisonburg, Virginia. George’s acquired the complex, which was previously owned by Tyson Foods, Inc., on May 7.

The DOJ lawsuit filed May 10 alleges that the acquisition would reduce growers’ ability to receive competitive prices for their services.  Prior to George’s acquisition, Tyson Foods, George’s, and JBS-Pilgrim’s Pride competed in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region.  DOJ has acknowledged that it was not required that the acquisition be filed for review because the purchase price of the transaction was less than the minimum reporting threshold under antitrust laws.

George’s filed court documents on Monday saying the DOJ lawsuit would delay the company’s plans to invest in the complex and would harm the contract growers and employees associated with the complex, as well as local businesses.  George’s and Tyson said in a joint statement that the complex had lost $10 million in the last three years and the lawsuit could ultimately impede the company’s ability to revive the plant, which was in danger of being closed without reinvestment.

 

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