Hasbro To Pay $6M in Antitrust Deal
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Toymaker Hasbro Inc. has agreed to pay about $6 million in cash and toy donations to settle an antitrust lawsuit brought by 44 states.
Under the settlement announced Thursday, Hasbro will pay $2.4 million in cash to the states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to establish funds to benefit children. Hasbro also will give $3.6 million worth of toys to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program this holiday season.
The settlement was announced by New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who in 1997 sued Hasbro, the manufacturers Mattel Inc. and Little Tikes Co. and the retailer Toys R Us Inc.
Vacco claimed Toys R Us pressured its suppliers not to ship Mr. Potato Head, Barbie dolls and other popular toys to such discounters as Price Club, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Other states later joined in the lawsuit.
Hasbro has admitted no wrongdoing in the suit, but settled to avoid potentially lengthy litigation, company spokesman Wayne Charness said.
``We are happy to have the matter resolved with children as the beneficiary,″ he said.
The settlement with Hasbro, which is not final until approved by a federal judge, does not include any deals between the states and Toys R Us, Mattel, or Little Tikes.
Hasbro’s donations to the Toys for Tots program will be distributed to all 50 states. Payments to the states involved in the lawsuit will be divided according to each state’s population.
In a separate action in October, the Federal Trade Commission found Toys R Us stifled competition by limiting which toys manufacturers can sell to discount-store rivals, and ordered the company to stop engaging in illegal practices.
Toys R Us, the nation’s largest toy retailer, maintained it was acting in the best interests of its customers and plans to appeal the government’s finding.
The states taking part in the suit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.