Not exactly a surprise. Following the Federal Trade Commission notice in early December that it was filing suit to block Procter & Gamble’s proposed acquisition of Billie, both companies announced the decision to terminate their planned merger agreement in a joint statement on Tuesday as a result of the FTC’s actions, rather than pursuing further legal action.
“We were disappointed by the FTC’s decision and maintain there was exciting potential in combining Billie with P&G to better serve more consumers around the world,” the companies said in the joint statement.
The FTC had said that Billie sold quality razors for women at a moderate price while P&G was a market leader in the sale of all wet shave razors. In its marketing, Billie highlights the so-called “pink tax,” collected by companies that charge women more than men for comparable products.
Billie was planning to expand into physical retail stores ahead of the P&G acquisition, which would have made the brand a more direct competitor to P&G products, according to the FTC.
“As its sales grew, Billie was likely to expand into brick-and-mortar stores, posing a serious threat to P&G,” noted Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, in a statement issued last month. “If P&G can snuff out Billie’s rapid competitive growth, consumers will likely face higher prices,” he added.
The FTC praised this decision in a release issued on January 5: “Procter & Gamble’s abandonment of the acquisition of Billie is good news for consumers who value low prices, quality, and innovation … Billie is a direct-to-consumer company whose advertising targets customers who are tired of paying more for comparable razors. The FTC voted to challenge this merger because it would have eliminated dynamic competition from Billie.”
The FTC filed a similar claim over competition concerns that prevented Schick owner Edgewell from buying Harry’s in February 2020 in a $1.4 billion deal.
2 Article(s) Remaining