LG, AUO and Toshiba pay millions to settle LCD price fixing claims

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While Terry Gou completes deal with Sharp

A cartel of companies has agreed to cough up a total of $543 million to settle claims that they indulged in LCD price fixing activities.

According to a prosecuting attorney, a further $27.5 million will be paid by AUO, LG and Toshiba in civil penalties to eight state governments, bringing the total the trio have to shell out to $571 million.

The trio landed themselves in hot water back in 2006, when the US justice ministry began to investigate whether there was price fixing for LCD panels primarily from 2001-2006. It was concerned that these activities bulked up prices prices for buyers of TVs, notebooks and other gadgets.

Since then, US-based attorney, Joseph Alioto,  has been leading a group of consumers to sue the companies.

Although the companies have yet to have been found guilty, they have decided to pay up in a bid to stop the situation continuing, a source told the DigiTimes.

Mr Alioto also told Bloomberg: “That’s what they agreed to, that’s what we’ve agreed to.”

He added a court filing seeking approval of the settlement would be filed in federal court in San Francisco.

However, allegations of price fixing in the LCD industry don’t seem to have deterred Foxconn head honcho Terry Gou.

According to the Taipei Times, the chairman has completed his purchase of a stake in Sharp Display Products. The meaningful marriage now means the pair can cooperate on the production of panels used in televisions and mobile phones.

SIO International Holdings Ltd – the company owned by Gou – forked out $617 million to buy 979,200 shares of Sharp Display from Sharp Corp.

The display unit will now be renamed Sakai Display Products Corp and operate an advanced 10th-generation liquid crystal display factory in Osaka prefecture.