News Corp has reached a $250m settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against it by several major consumer brands who accused the company of monopolistic practices and overcharging for in-store advertising in the US.
Dial Corp and Kraft Heinz led the class action lawsuit which represented over 500 companies who claimed News Corp’s marketing division, News America Marketing, had been using its stranglehold on the market to overcharge them by as much as 40 per cent.
News America Marketing offers direct marketing through more than 1,900 publications and 56,000 retail stores in the US, including Wal-Mart, Kroger and Target.
The company has controlled over 90 per cent of the market since 2004 by locking up exclusive long-term contracts with retailers. This was exacerbated in 2014 when its only rival, Valassis Communications, closed.
The class action had sought damages of $674.6m however News Corp concluded the settlement with $250m and also agreed to pay an additional $39m to settle related claims.
In a statement released after a jury trial had begun in Manhattan federal court, the company said: ” News America Marketing has consistently denied any wrongdoing in this case, which involves allegations relating to historical conduct reaching back as far as 1997.
“We are pleased to have concluded this settlement, which allows us to avoid the expense and uncertainty of further litigating this matter.”