In late January 2010 Smithfield Foods Inc. and its subsidiary, Premium Standard Farms LLC, agreed to pay a civil penalty of US$900,000 to settle alleged violations of the waiting period requirements under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (HSR Act). According to the DOJ’s complaint, Premium Standard stopped exercising independent business judgment in its hog procurements soon after the execution of its September 2006 merger agreement with Smithfield Foods and prior to the expiration of the waiting period, which was extended until May 7, 2009 because of the DOJ’s request for additional information. Premium Standard allegedly sought Smithfield’s consent regarding three multiyear hog purchase contracts, providing Smithfield with key terms to the proposed contracts, including price, quantity and the length of the contract. Because the hog procurement contracts were necessary to Premium Standard’s business operations in the ordinary course, Smithfield’s exercise of consent over the contracts amounted to an exercise of operational control over the business in violation of the HSR Act.