Lawsuits Allege Price Fixing by Telescope Manufacturers

>Three US amateur astronomers have filed two class-action lawsuits in California
alleging that China-based Synta Technology, Ningbo Sunny, and their subsidiaries
have conspired to unfairly split the telescope market between them, fix prices, and
inhibit competition. Synta purchased US-based Celestron Acquisitions in 2005. Synta
also owns SkyWatcher USA and SkyWatcher Canada and several other companies
named in the suits. Sunny acquired Meade Instruments in 2013. The class-action
suits were filed in June on behalf of US telescope buyers following last year’s
decision in an anti-trust lawsuit in which Orion Technologies won a judgement
against Meade for anticompetitive actions. The first of the new class-action suits
alleges that Synta and Sunny, which manufacture 80% of recreational telescopes
sold in the United States, agreed not to compete with each other. The second suit
alleges anticompetitive conduct in distribution of telescopes in the US market. The
plaintiffs are asking for $350 million in damages, the amount they estimate US
telescope buyers have overpaid due to the alleged unfair business practices.

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