Reckitt & Colman PLC has asked the Federal Trade Commission for approval to divest its rug and room deodorizer assets to Block Drug Company, Inc. The assets to be divested include Reckitt's rights in the "Carpet Fresh," "Rug Fresh," "Botani- cals," and "Airwick Neutra Air" brands of rug and room deodor- izers. The application will be subject to public comment for 30 days, until July 3.
Reckitt is based in London, and does business in the United States through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Reckitt & Colman, Inc., of Wayne, New Jersey. Block is a consumer and professional products company whose brands include "Poli-dent," "Dentu-Cream," and "Nytol." It is based in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The divestiture is required by an April 1995 order settling allegations that Reckitt's acquisition of L&F Products, Inc. would substantially reduce competition in the U.S. market for carpet deodorizer products. Under the order, the Commission agreed not to challenge the acquisition so long as Reckitt divests its rug cleaning assets and its carpet-deodorizer assets to a Commission-approved buyer within six months. Reckitt received prior Commission approval and has already divested the rug cleaning assets to Playtex Products, Inc.
Reckitt had also been required to obtain the Commission's approval for the L&F acquisition under a 1990 consent order that settled charges over Reckitt's acquisition of the Boyle-Midway Division of American Home Products Corporation, which, at the time, made rug-cleaning products under the Woolite name. Reckitt made Spray'n Vac and other rug-cleaning products. The 1990 order, among other things, requires Reckitt to obtain FTC ap- proval before acquiring any interest in a company that manufac- tures or sells rug-cleaning products in the U.S. L&F makes both carpet-deodorizer and rug-cleaning products. The Commission conditioned its approval of the L&F acquisition on Reckitt's compliance with the new order.
Reckitt maintains in its petition that the divestiture to Block Drug would ensure that the assets will continue to be operated as an ongoing viable enterprise. "Block Drug...is well- positioned to acquire the rug and room deodorizer products and realize immediate success," the petition states, adding: "The day after...closing..., the company will be able to have in place all of the components to market the products, with no lag in production or sales."
Comments should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Copies of the application and other documents associated with this case are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, same address as above.
(1994 Order FTC Docket No. C-3571 (this docket number was changed from C-3566))
(1990 Order FTC Docket No. C-3306)