WILMINGTON, DEL. — A US district judge on Sept. 23 ruled in favor of the US Sugar Corp., the defendant, saying its acquisition of Imperial Sugar Co. did not violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act. The ruling went against the US Department of Justice, the plaintiff, which had sought to stop the acquisition because of antitrust concerns.

“The people of US Sugar are pleased that today’s court ruling will allow our acquisition of Imperial Sugar to proceed as planned: enabling us to increase our sugar production, enhance the local Georgia economy and benefit our employees and customers,” US Sugar Corp. said.

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika made the ruling in the US District Court, District of Delaware.

US Sugar Corp., Clewiston, Fla., in March 2021 announced an agreement to acquire the business and assets of Imperial Sugar Co., a port refiner with operations in Georgia and Kentucky, from the Louis Dreyfus Co. The Department of Justice in November 2021 filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to stop the $325 million acquisition, alleging the transaction would leave an “overwhelming” majority of refined sugar sales across the Southeast in the hands of two producers, causing American businesses and consumers to pay more for refined sugar.

United Sugars Corp. is a sugar-selling cooperative that markets sugar for US Sugar Corp. and others, including beet processors. The second major seller in the Southeast noted in the case in addition to US Sugar Corp. (sugar sold by United Sugars) is Domino Foods Inc., formerly Domino Sugar, which is not a party in the case.