Makers of LCD Screens Plead Guilty to Price-Fixing

Three of the largest makers of computer and video screens, Sharp Corp., LG Display Co. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd., pleaded guilty to criminal price-fixing charges and will pay fines totaling $585 million.

As a result of the price fixing, electronics manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers were forced to pay higher prices for televisions, cell phones and other products using liquid-crystal displays, the Justice Department said.

U.S. officials said products affected by the price fixing included Apple Inc. iPods and Razr phones from Motorola Inc. as well as laptops and computer monitors from Dell Inc.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, the department's chief antitrust enforcer, said LG Display, Sharp and Chunghwa participated in price-fixing conspiracies that were international in scope and "affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day."

Mr. Barnett said he did not yet have specifics on the amount of financial loss suffered by consumers. But he said the termination of the conspiracies should lead to lower prices.

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