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US Sugar Deal Pause Sought by DOJ Is Denied by Third Circuit

Sept. 30, 2022, 5:22 PM

The Justice Department failed to convince the Third Circuit to pause the closing of US Sugar Corp.'s $315 million acquisition of rival Imperial Sugar prior to hearing the full appeal of a lower court decision that approved the deal.

The DOJ’s antitrust division filed suit to block the merger in 2021, alleging the deal would concentrate the sugar market in the southeastern United States.

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s Friday denial of the DOJ’s emergency injunction motion is the antitrust division’s latest procedural loss in a week-long attempt to pause the merger pending appeal.

The acquisition could close at midnight on Oct. 3, the DOJ said.

Following an April trial, a Delaware federal court judge ruled against the DOJ on Sept. 23, saying the deal does not violate antitrust law.

Soon after the ruling, division attorneys filed a notice of appeal at the Third Circuit. When the Delaware judge denied their request for pause, the DOJ asked the Third Circuit for an emergency injunction halting the deal to give it time to appeal.

The DOJ declined to comment.

The case is USA v. United States Sugar Corporation, et al, 3d Cir., no. 22-02806, 9/30/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Papscun in Washington at dpapscun@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Roger Yu at ryu@bloomberglaw.com