The complaint, filed 11 months after the proposed acquisition of the direct-to-consumer brand was first announced, alleged that ownership of Billie would give P&G an unfair advantage. The FTC said the deal would “eliminate growing competition that benefits consumers.”
This is not the first time that the FTC has tried to block such deals. Last year, the agency filed a lawsuit against the purchase of Harry’s, another d-to-c razor brand, by Edgewell Personal Care, noting it would lead to a “comfortable duopoly” between Harry’s and Edgewell’s Schick razor brand. Edgewell also withdrew from the acquisition.
After P&G and Billie announced their abandonment of the acquisition, the FTC issued a statement noting that the decision is “good news for consumers who value low prices, quality and innovation.” The agency said “The FTC voted to challenge this merger because it would have eliminated dynamic competition from Billie.”
Yet, the decision presents a future challenge for other growing d-to-c startups expecting to be acquired by a larger consumer giant.
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