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Toshiba Agrees to Pay $13.5 Million in Price-Fixing Suit

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Toshiba Corp. agreed to pay $13.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing makers of picture tubes used in televisions and computers of fixing prices, lawyers for direct purchasers of the products said in a court filing.

Toshiba and other display tube makers were sued in 2007 in federal court in San Francisco on claims they operated a cartel from 1995 through 2007 to offset a drop in demand for cathode-ray tubes caused by the introduction of more advanced liquid-crystal and plasma-display technology, according to the lawsuit.

Toshiba denied wrongdoing, according to the settlement agreement, filed yesterday in conjunction with a request for preliminary approval of the accord.

The price fixing conspiracy stabilized tube prices when they should have fallen, and caused buyers to pay more, according to the lawsuit. LG Electronics agreed to pay $25 million to settled the claims, and other manufactures have also agreed to settlements ranging from $10 million to $17 million, Guido Saveri, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in yesterday’s filing.

Julius Christensen, a Toshiba spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail yesterday seeking comment on the settlement.

The case is In Re Cathode Ray Tube Antitrust Litigation, 07-5944, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

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

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