Dell to sue Philips, alleges cathode-ray tube price fixing

Dell may be in the middle of a buyout process, but it hasn't stopped the computing firm from planning to take Philips to court.

dell-sues philips cathode ray tube price fixing allegation court complaint

Dell, who is on the brink of going private, is suing Philips, alleging within the complaint that the electronics maker fixed the price of cathode-ray tubes over the past decade.

According to a complaint filed with a federal court in Austin, Texas, Dell has alleged that officials from a U.S. unit of Philips conspired to control the prices of cathode-ray tubes. As reported by Bloomberg, cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) were a staple component in standard television sets and computer monitors before the flat-panel revolution.

The complaint suggests that Philips executives who kept prices for cathode-ray tubes inflated sent agents worldwide to meet with other firms and compare notes on consumer demand, sales rates, marketshare and ways to limit competition. A number of similar lawsuits including others "injured by Philips," as well as "co-conspirators" are ongoing, according to the filing.

Last year, Philips, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Toshiba, Samsung SDI, and Technicolor were all fined individually by the European Commission after the governmental body ruled that the firms were all involved in fixing the price of cathode-ray tubes. Collectively, the fine was worth over 1 billion euros , although many of the companies have decided to appeal the decision.

Dell is seeking financial damages, legal fees and a jury-based trial.

Dell may be taking other firms to court, but it has also recently found itself on the receiving end of court complaints. After going private for $24.4 billion, the computer maker's management team was accused of selling "Dell on the cheap," and therefore shortchanging investing parties. As a result, investor Catherine Christner filed a suit with Delaware Chancery Court.

The shareholder mutiny doesn't end there. Investing parties including Alpine Capital Research, Schneider Capital Management , and Dell's largest independent shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, plan to vote against the "undervalued" buyout.

The company reported fourth quarter earnings of $530 million, or 30 cents a share, on revenue of $14.31 billion, which is down 11 percent year-on-year.