The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions.
Commission action regarding applications for approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has taken actions regarding applications for approval of transactions from the following entities:
- The FTC has extended until Nov. 12, 1996 the deadline for receiving comments from the public regarding the application of Ahold USA, Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, to divest six supermarkets in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts to SUPERVALU, Inc. The stores would be operated by Ro-Jack’s, a supermarket chain based in Mansfield, Massachusetts. (See Sept. 27, 1996 news advisory; Docket No. C-3687; File No. 961- 0052; Commission vote to extend the deadline was 5-0.) Staff contact is Roberta Baruch, 202-326-2861.
- The FTC has approved the application of First Data Corporation, of Hackensack, New Jersey, to divest its MoneyGram consumer money wire transfer business to a newly- formed corporation, MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. First Data then will sell shares of common stock it gets in the deal through a registered initial public offering. Divestiture of the MoneyGram business is required under a January 1996 consent order settling charges over First Data’s acquisition of First Financial, which owned MoneyGram’s principal competitor, Western Union. The FTC alleged that the merger would give First Data a monopoly in the consumer money wire transfer business; the divestiture is designed to restore competition. (See Sept. 21, 1995 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3635; Commission vote to approve the divestiture was 4-1, with Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga dissenting, stating: "When the divestiture is to be accomplished through an initial public offering, the due diligence review conducted by the underwriters can provide reassurances about the likely financial viability of the new business, but it tells us nothing about the likely competitive viability. Indeed, the incentives of the investment bankers are entirely consistent with anticompetitive results.
"As I have said elsewhere," Azcuenaga continued, "a significant problem with divestiture by means of an IPO is the absence of an identifiable and independent acquiring company to engage in arm’s length negotiations with the respondent. ... [T]he competition perspective ... also suggests that an indepdendent acquirer is better situated than is the Commission to negotiate the appropriate terms of sale.") Staff contact is Elizabeth Piotrowski, 202-326-2623.
- The FTC has approved the application of The Stop & Shop Companies, Inc., of Quincy, Massachusetts, to divest its supermarket at 550 Arsenal Street in Watertown, Massachusetts, to J&T Enterprises, Inc., which operates in Meridith, New Hampshire, under the Jackson’s Star Market name and in Newton and Weston, Massachusetts, under the name of Omni Food Stores. Divestiture of this and 16 other supermarkets is required under a 1996 consent order designed to restore supermarket competition that allegedly was injured in five areas of Massachusetts when Stop & Shop acquired Purity Supreme, Inc. (See Nov. 1, 1995 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3649; Commission vote to approve the divestiture was 5-0.) Staff contact is Roberta Baruch, 202-326-2861.
Commission action regarding petitions to reopen and modify FTC orders: Following a comment period, the FTC has ruled on a petition from the following entity:
- The FTC has granted in part a petition from Del Monte Foods Company, of San Francisco, California, to modify an April 1995 consent order, by ending Del Monte’s obligation to obtain FTC approval before making certain acquisitions or entering into certain marketing agreements and co-pack arrangements. The FTC has substituted in place of the prior-approval requirement a requirement that Del Monte give the Commission prior notice of the specified transactions. The 1995 consent order settled charges that supply and purchase option agreements between Del Monte and Pacific Coast Producers, under which Del Monte effectively took over Pacific Coast’s canned fruit business, violated federal antitrust laws by eliminating Pacific Coast as a substantial and direct competitor to Del Monte. (See April 14, 1995 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3569; Commission vote to modify the order was 5-0.) Staff contact is Elizabeth Piotrowski, 202-326-2623.
Copies of all FTC news releases and most of the documents referenced above are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov (no period). Copies of all FTC documents 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 news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.