FTC Asks Court to Delay McCormick’s Acquisition of Competing Spice Maker, Charges Company Has Not Complied with the Federal Law Concerning Merger Review

For Release

McCormick & Co. Inc.'s proposed $56 million acquisition of the Spice Islands assets from Specialty Brands Inc. until the FTC can complete its antitrust investigation of the proposal. The Commission charged that McCormick has not fully complied with a request for information about the merger.

The Commission asked the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia to issue an order prohibiting the companies from consummating the transaction until 20 days after McCormick has complied with the FTC's request for additional information.

The Commission alleged that McCormick and Specialty Brands notified the FTC about the proposed acquisition on January 13. On February 11, the Commission issued requests to the companies "for additional information and documentary material relevant to the proposed acquisition." McCormick has not yet fully complied with that request, according to the complaint. Once the companies have complied with the request for additional information, they must wait an additional 20 days before consummating the transaction.

McCormick and Specialty have announced that they believe they are eligible to consummate the acquisition on April 29.

Specialty Brands, based in San Francisco, is owned by UB Foods U.S. Inc., a holding company for the U.S. interests of United Biscuits (Holdings) PLC, a British company. At this time, Specialty's only businesses are Spice Islands' gourmet spices, herbs, and vinegars, and Taste of Americana, a line of blended regional seasonings.

McCormick, based in Hunt Valley, Md., has proposed to buy all of Specialty's stock from UB Foods U.S. Inc. McCormick is the leading manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of spices, herbs, and extracts in the United States.

Copies of the complaint are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY 202-326-2502.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:

Susan Ticknor,
Office of Public Affairs,
202-326-2181

 

STAFF CONTACT:

James Egan,
Bureau of Competition,
202-326-2682