US drops monopoly case against big cerealmakers

A Federal Trade Commission judge dismissed the government's longstanding antimonopoly case against the country's three largest makers of breakfast cereals. In a decision reflecting the trend toward more conservative enforcement of antitrust laws, Judge Alvin Berman ruled that commission lawyers failed to prove collusion by Kellogg Corporation, General Mills Inc., and General Foods Corporation to usurp the market.

FTC lawyers had charged that the three, which produce about 75 percent of the dry cereal in the United States, informally agreed to limit competition among themselves and to prevent new companies from competing with them, causing consumers to pay perhaps 15 percent more for cereals than they would have otherwise.

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