FTC Prepares Antitrust Lawsuit Against Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is gearing up to file an antitrust lawsuit against Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, the largest alcohol distributor in the United States, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The suit, which could be filed within weeks, is expected to accuse Southern Glazer’s of providing “secret kickbacks” to large retail customers, potentially violating the 1936 Robinson-Patman Act.

Southern Glazer’s, founded in 1968 and based in Florida, distributes alcohol for over 7,000 brands across 44 states, serving as a crucial link between alcohol producers and retail stores. The company reported $26 billion in revenue in 2023.

The Robinson-Patman Act, a 1936 antitrust law, prohibits companies from offering better prices to one buyer over another for the same product.

FTC lawsuit against Southern Glazer’s
Critics fear the Robinson-Patman Act may hinder consumer discounts; FTC’s case is complicated by state alcohol laws.

The FTC’s case hinges on proving that Southern Glazer’s practices interfere with competition, a charge that the FTC considers legally complex.

Critics argue that the Robinson-Patman Act can inadvertently ban discounts that benefit consumers, potentially conflicting with President Joe Biden’s economic goals of lowering costs for voters.

The FTC’s case is further complicated by the alcohol industry’s state-specific regulatory structure, making it challenging for the FTC to litigate against Southern Glazer’s.

An FTC lawsuit against Southern Glazer’s would add to the commission’s recent aggressive antitrust enforcement efforts under Biden, which have included challenges to mergers and lawsuits against companies like Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and Kroger.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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