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Sara Lee To Pay $3.1 Million Penalty

Sara Lee Corp. agreed Tuesday to pay $3.1 million, the largest such civil penalty ever, for failing to tell government antitrust investigators in advance of its 1991 acquisition of a line of shoe care products.

Better known for baked goods, Chicago-based Sara Lee is a multinational consumer packaged goods company whose Kiwi Brands subsidiary had 90 percent of the U.S. market for shoe polish sold through mass marketers in 1991.

In that year, Sara Lee acquired the U.S. and British shoe care products of London-based Reckitt & Colman PLC, but didn’t advise either the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission of the deal in advance as required.

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