updated 02:10 pm EST, Tue December 27, 2011
Agree to help prosecute other LCD panel vendors
Seven LCD panel makers, including Samsung, Sharp, and Chimei Innolux, have reached accords to settle claims that they conspired to limit competition and fix prices for their displays used in laptops, monitors and TVs. If approved, the proposed $539 million settlement will resolve several cases pending in the US district court in San Francisco, and affect buyers as indirect victims. Earlier this month, another settlement for $388 million was reached in the same court with "direct" purchasers of the panels, who then put these panels into their own products.
The court cases stem from charges that, between 1999 and 2006, the seven companies colluded to fix and inflate prices. The complaints were filed on behalf of buyers as class actions as well as by several states including Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the companies still dispute the claims, but nevertheless have agreed to pay significant amounts of money to close the matter. Samsung will pay $240 million, Sharp $115.5 million, and Chimei Innolux $110 million. Paying lesser amounts will be Hitachi ($40 million), HannStar ($25.6 million), Chunghwa Picture Tubes ($5.3 million), and Epson Imaging ($2.8 million). The vendors have also agreed to establish antitrust compliance programs. They will help prosecute those companies that haven't made a settlement. Three other panel vendors, LG, Toshiba, and AU Optronics, have refused to settle their cases. [via Reuters]