PITTSBURGH — A trustee in the bankruptcy case of beverage company LeNature's is investigating allegations that supermarket operator Giant Eagle threatened another bidder in an effort to acquire a LeNature's bottling plant.
Giant Eagle, based here, reportedly threatened to stop selling products from Cadbury Schweppes if the beverage company sought to outbid Giant Eagle for the plant, which is located in Latrobe, Pa., and was being sold as part of LeNature's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Giant Eagle earlier this month said it had won the bidding with a $20 million offer, and that it planned to reopen the facility in about eight weeks to produce its own beverages. According to one report, Cadbury Schweppes had bid $19 million, and has agreed to purchase the plant if the Giant Eagle bid falls through.
The investigation, which was said to have been launched after an anonymous tip from a Pittsburgh reporter, was expected to last about a week. The bankruptcy court scheduled a hearing on the matter for this Thursday.
“We have agreed to be completely cooperative [with the investigation] and to provide any information the trustee requests,” a Giant Eagle spokesman told SN.