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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION v. ANHEUSER-BUSCH, INC.

363 U.S. 536

No. 389. Argued March 2, 1960 -- Decided June 20, 1960

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.

The Federal Trade Commission found that respondent, a leading national brewer which sells a so-called premium beer at higher prices than the beers of regional and local breweries in the great majority of markets, had reduced its prices only to those customers in the St. Louis area while maintaining higher prices to all purchasers outside the St. Louis area, and thereby had "discriminated in price" as between purchasers differently located, and that this had diverted substantial business from respondent's St. Louis competitors, had substantially lessened competition and tended to create a monopoly, in violation of 2 (a) of the Clayton Act, as amended by the Robinson-Patman Act; and it ordered respondent to cease and desist. The Court of Appeals concluded that the statutory element of price discrimination had not been established, and it set aside the Commission's order on this ground alone.

Held:

The Court of Appeals erred in its construction of 2 (a); the evidence warranted the Commission's finding of price discrimination; and the judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings. Pp. 537- 554.

(a) Section 2 (a) is violated when there is a price discrimination which deals the requisite injury to sellers' or "primary-line" competition, even though buyers' or "secondary-line" and "tertiary-line" competition are unaffected. Pp. 542-545.

(b) The Court of Appeals erred in concluding that, since all competing purchasers paid respondent the same price, so far as the record disclosed, respondent's price cuts were not discriminatory. Pp. 545-546.

(c) A price discrimination within the meaning of the portion of 2 (a) here involved is merely a price difference; and, in order to establish such a price discrimination, it is not necessary to show that the lower price is below cost or unreasonably low for the purpose or design to eliminate competition and thereby obtain a monopoly. Pp. 546-553.

265 F.2d 677, reversed.

Mr. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the Court.


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