NEW YORK Jan 7 Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and
Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) have been named in a consumer lawsuit
accusing the two companies of trying to build a monopoly for
online DVD rentals.
In a complaint filed on Jan 2 in the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of California, the plaintiffs, led by
San Francisco-based Andrea Resnick, allege that the companies
unreasonably restrained trade, sending up prices.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Daphne Moore said the world's largest
retailer has received the complaint, is reviewing it, and will
respond to the court at the appropriate time.
A spokesman for Netflix, the online video rental company,
declined to comment.
The companies agreed in 2005 that Wal-Mart would close its
online rental business and refer customers to Netflix, which in
turn would promote Wal-Mart's DVD movie sales, the plaintiffs
The agreement enabled Netflix to maintain monopoly power
and led rival Blockbuster Inc BBI.N to raise subscription
rental prices, according to the suit, which seeks class-action
(Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York and Ajay Kamalakaran
in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney)