McDonald’s is to pay a record $8 billion to settle federal charges it engaged in anticompetitive business practices during its reign.
In the first antitrust settlement of its kind, McDonald’s will pay $7.3 billion in the US to resolve a lawsuit brought by the Competition Bureau, which accused the fast food giant of engaging in a “multi-billion dollar anticompetition conspiracy” in an attempt to drive down wages for some workers and drive down sales of the hamburger chain’s food and beverages.
McDonald’s and other fast food companies were accused of using the price-fixing tactics to drive wages down and push up prices of some of their most popular products.
McDonn’s said it would pay a total of $6.6 billion, including $2.7 billion in a separate $1.2 billion fine to the government.
It also agreed to pay nearly $3 billion to the Competition Law Center, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, which filed the antitrust suit against McDonald’s in February 2018.
Mcdonald’s said the settlement is the largest in US history, with $6 billion paid in the first four months of the year.
The company will also pay $3.1 billion in deferred prosecution costs, the first time the company has settled with the government since the 1930s.
“Today’s settlement demonstrates our resolve to hold fast-food companies accountable for their practices,” Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.
“We will continue to fight to end the scourge of anticompete agreements and will continue pursuing the kinds of remedies that will protect American consumers and businesses.”
The agency charged that McDonald’s retaliated against competitors by making some products and selling them at lower prices to drive prices down for customers.
The government said McDonald’s’s engaged in “price-fix” practices that caused wages to fall and drive up the price of the company’s products.
The court also found that McDonalds promoted its own products to drive up prices, including its signature burger, as well as its fries and hamburgers.
McDonnell’s was also accused of making false claims about the cost of some items, including that its hamburger, fries and hot dogs cost more than its competitors’.
The company settled the case in 2018, and the company said it will pay back $3 million to settle the FTC lawsuit.
In a separate antitrust case against Burger King, the government said the company had used price-locking and price-matching practices to raise prices and drive costs down for some consumers.