Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR:US) was sued over claims the Vermont company monopolized the market for the sale of single-serve brewers and the packages of coffee that go in them.
TreeHouse Foods Inc. (THS:US) sued in federal court in Manhattan today, claiming Green Mountain used its dominance in the brewer market to bar rivals from competing with its “K-Cup” packages of coffee and other hot beverages. TreeHouse said Green Mountain plans to redesign the Keurig brewers to block competitors from supplying lower-cost coffee packs.
“Such an anticompetitive product redesign would force consumers to pay at least 15 percent to 25 percent more for K-Cups, would block consumers from their preferred beverages and would restrain competition,” Oak Brook, Illinois-based TreeHouse said in its complaint.
Coca-Cola Co. (KO:US) last week agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Green Mountain for about $1.25 billion and to help the company develop a system for producing single-serve cold drinks.
“The suit is totally without merit,” Suzanne DuLong, a spokeswoman for Waterbury, Vermont-based Green Mountain, said in a statement.
Green Mountain rose $8.48, or 7.6 percent, to $119.40 in New York Stock Exchange trading today. Shares have gained 47.6 percent since Feb. 5.
The case is TreeHouse Foods Inc. v. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., 14-cv-00905, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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