FTC Seeks Public Comment on Polypore International’s Application to Sell Microporous to Seven Mile Capital Partners; Sale Would Unwind Illegal 2008 Acquisition

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on an application by Polypore International, Inc. for approval to divest all stock and assets related to Microporous, which it acquired in February 2008, to Seven Mile Capital Partners (Seven Mile).  The divestiture is required by a Commission final decision and order that found the acquisition anticompetitive and required Polypore to sell Microporous to an FTC-approved buyer.

The FTC challenged the consummated transaction in a September 9, 2008, complaint, charging that the merger had resulted in decreased competition and higher prices in four North American markets for battery separators, a key component in flooded lead-acid batteries.  Following an administrative trial, on February 22, 2010, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Polypore’s acquisition of Microporous was anticompetitive , and further, that complete divestiture of the acquired assets was necessary to remedy the effects of the illegal acquisition and restore competition in the affected markets. 

On November 5, 2010, the Commission upheld the ALJ’s Initial Decision, ruling that the acquisition was anticompetitive in three of the four North American markets identified in the complaint but not in the fourth market for separators used to make batteries for backup power supply.  The Commission’s order required Polypore to sell Microporous within six months after the divestiture provisions became final to an FTC-approved buyer.  Polypore appealed the Commission’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which on July 11, 2012, affirmed the FTC’s final decision and order, including the requirement that it divest Microporous. Polypore then appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear it.

In its application, Polypore states that Seven Mile has the competitive ability to restore the competition eliminated by its acquisition of Microporous. The Commission will decide whether to approve the proposed divestiture after expiration of the public comment period.  Public comments may be submitted until October 28, 2013.  Written comments should be sent to:  FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  Comments can also be submitted electronically. Copies of the application also can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release.  (FTC Docket No. 9327; the staff contact is Elizabeth A. Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623; see related press release dated September 10, 2008)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.  To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.  To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:

Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161