The US Justice Department has sued meatpacking giant Smithfield Foods, alleging that the company broke antitrust laws by failing to report stock acquisitions.

The lawsuit is seeking the maximum US$5.4m for Smithfield’s alleged failure to file premerger federal notification documents with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission before it acquired stock of its competitor IBP.

Smithfield said it believes it complied with notification requirements and rejected the possibility of an out-of-court settlement, reported the Associated Press.