FYI: FTC Sets Aside Prior-Approval Provisions for Mannesmann, A.G.

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The only provision of the order that still imposed requirements on the company mandated that Mannesmann, until 2002, obtain the FTC's approval before acquiring an interest in any entity that manufactures and sells high-speed, light-to-medium duty conveyor systems in the United States. The FTC set aside the order pursuant to its prior-approval policy, under which the Commission presumes the public interest requires reopening and modifying prior-approval provisions in outstanding merger orders, consistent with the prior-approval policy.

The 1992 consent order settled FTC allegations that Mannesmann's acquisition of its competitor, Rapistan Corporation, would violate antitrust laws by substantially reducing competition in the U.S. market for the conveyor systems at issue. To restore competition, the order required Mannesmann to divest its Cincinnati, Ohio-based subsidiary, The Buschman Company. Buschman was divested to Alvey, Inc. in October 1992. The order also included the prior-approval provision and some recordkeeping and compliance requirements.

Earlier this year, the FTC announced a new policy with regard to prior- approval provisions, stating that it will no longer routinely require parties to a merger it has challenged to obtain prior approval for future transactions. At the same time, the Commission adopted a rebuttable presumption that the public interest requires reopening and modifying prior- approval provisions in existing orders with such provisions.

Mannesmann petitioned the FTC in June to delete the prior-approval provision or, alternatively, to set aside the entire order, pursuant to this new policy. The petition was placed on the public record and no comments were received. Because this provision was the only one under which Mannesmann still had obligations, the Commission has determined to set aside the entire order. The vote to do so was 5-0.

Copies of the Commission's order setting aside the 1992 order, as well as the petition seeking termination, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th

Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580: 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest FTC news as it happens, call the FTC's NewsPhone at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other documents also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at http://www.ftc.gov

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