Green Mountain Coffee Blocked Competition, TreeHouse Says

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) 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) 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) 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).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.