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The Associated Press reports that the French competition authority has handed out more than $200 million (US) worth of fines to eleven dairy manufacturers there, accusing them of collusion and price fixing. The report says that over six years the companies conspired through a "web of secret meetings, hand-written charts and phone exchanges," as well as "frantic text messages between French CEOs about cottage cheese prices. Clandestine smoke breaks in a Left Bank apartment to collude on yogurt strategy.

According to the story, "The cartel was uncovered thanks to a special procedure that allows companies to report their own price-fixing activity to regulators in exchange for reduced punishment. Yoplait, majority owned by U.S.-based General Mills Inc., was the first company to report the activity, and was given no fines."

It is expected that at least some of the companies involved will appeal their fines.
KC's View:
I would imagine that they'll just be appealing the size of their fines. It has to be hard to deny you were colluding on price when one of the companies with which you were colluding has informed on you to the government.

By the way, we know that the world has changed when senior French executives make clandestine trips to Left Bank apartments to fix dairy prices. What happened to the good old days when they used to meet their mistresses in such places?

Cheating, for the French, apparently is not what it used to be.