Edgewell's Acquisition of Harry's Hits Snag as FTC Seeks to Block Deal

The Federal Trade Commission files a lawsuit to block Edgewell's proposed $1.37 billion acquisition of Harry's.
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Edgewell Personal Care’s  (EPC) - Get Report pending acquisition of rival Harry’s Inc. hit a snag Monday after the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to block the proposed $1.37 billion deal.

The regulatory agency’s complaint alleged that the combination will eliminate “one of the most important competitive forces in the shaving industry,” according to the release discussing the lawsuit.

“Harry’s is a uniquely disruptive competitor in the wet shave market, and it has forced its rivals to offer lower prices, and more options, to consumers across the country,” said Daniel Francis, deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “The Harry’s and Flamingo brands represent a significant and growing competitive threat to the two firms that have dominated the wet shaving market for decades. Edgewell’s effort to short-circuit competition by buying up its newer rival promises serious harm to consumers.”

The FTC's decision was met with a statement from Edgewell and Harry's on Monday.

"We are disappointed that the FTC is attempting to block our combination with Edgewell and are evaluating the best path forward. We believe strongly that the combined company will deliver exceptional brands and products at a great value and are determined to bring those benefits to consumers," said Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founders and co-CEO's of Harry's.

Edgewell, which owns razor brands Schick and Wilkinson, announced last May that it was purchasing Harry’s in a cash-and-stock deal. The global men’s grooming industry is expected to hit $78.6 billion by 2023 from $57.7 billion in 2017, according to a ResearchAndMarkets.com report.

The FTC called Harry’s Edgewell’s “key competitor” along with market leader Procter & Gamble  (PG) - Get Report in its letter announcing the lawsuit. 

The commission also noted that Edgewell was the leading supplier of private label razors in the U.S., and exists as a “comfortable duopoly” with P&G “characterized by annual price increases that were not driven by changes in costs or demand.”

Despite the FTC’s intervention Monday, Edgewell shares were rising 8.37% to $27.98 on double the stock’s daily average trading in trading Monday.