DOJ files antitrust suits to halt General Shale Brick, Meridian Brick acquisition

Consumer

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHL) – As General Shale Brick Inc. approaches the purchase of a competitor, the process hit a wall after the Department of Justice stepped in to stop the move until anti-competitive complaints are resolved.

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced a set of suits on Friday, October 1 with one blocking the purchase of Meridian Brick LLC and a second to propose a settlement involving the sale of multiple assets between the two companies.

All in all, the companies would be required to sell three manufacturing facilities, 14 distribution yards and showrooms, and six mines to either RemSom LLC or another business approved by the United States. According to the announcement, this sale would “resolve the competitive harm” that prompted the first lawsuit.

“Residential brick is an essential building block in American home construction,” said acting assistant attorney general Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “As originally proposed, the transaction would have led to higher priced and lower quality residential brick, making it more expensive for millions of Americans to build and purchase homes.”

While none of General Shale’s Tennessee properties are designated for sale, several regional standouts belonging to Meridian are listed:

  • A Gleason, TN manufacturing facility.
  • Two Gleason, TN mines.
  • A Clarksville, TN distribution yard.
  • A Knoxville, TN distribution yard.
  • A Memphis, TN distribution yard.
  • A Nashville, TN distribution yard.

General Shale Brick Incorporated is a Delaware company headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee and is a leading U.S manufacturer of several construction materials, according to the release. If the settlement follows the proposed final judgement filed by the DOJ, General Shale and Meridian would be required to assist any business that purchases assets with the hiring of any relevant employees connected to the site.

“Not only has competition between General Shale and Meridian driven residential brick prices down, it has also fostered product innovation that has resulted in new products and the broad portfolio that each firm offers today,” the filed complaint states. “For example, competition between these firms has resulted in the introduction of new color mixes, textures, and facing styles, as well as more efficient and environmentally sustainable production processes.”

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