For Your Information: May 25, 1999
The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions.
Petitions to reopen and modify or set aside orders: The FTC has received a petition from the following entity seeking changes in, or termination of, an FTC order. The FTC is seeking public comments on the petition for 30 days, until June 23, 1999.
- B.A.T Industries p.l.c. , Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation and The American Tobacco Company have petitioned the FTC to reopen and modify an April 1995 consent order to eliminate the prior approval provision set forth in Paragraph IV of the Order, which requires B.A.T. to obtain FTC approval before acquiring -- other than in the ordinary course of business -- any interest in any firm that manufactures cigarettes in the United States for consumption in the United States, or any assets used to manufacture, distribute, or sell cigarettes in the United States. The consent order ended federal district court and administrative litigation over FTC allegations that B.A.T's acquisition of American Tobacco would substantially reduce competition in the U.S. cigarette industry, potentially giving B.A.T and other firms remaining in the market greater ability to collude. Under the final order, B.A.T and Brown & Williamson were permitted to go ahead with the acquisition of American Tobacco, but were required to divest six American Tobacco discount cigarette brands.
In its petition, B.A.T. noted that the acquisition of American Tobacco Company has been completed and that the Assets to be divested have been sold. B.A.T. noted that it is most unlikely that it would attempt to repurchase the divested assets. The petition also cited the FTC's June 1995 Policy Statement Concerning Prior Approval and Prior Notice Provisions in which the Commission stated that requests to delete prior approval provisions from existing Orders generally would be presumed to be in the public interest. (See news release dated April 21, 1995; Docket No. 9271; Staff Contact is Dan Ducore, 202-326-2526.)
Applications for approval of transactions: The FTC has received an application for approval of a transaction from the following. The FTC is seeking public comments on the application for 30 days, until June 23, 1999:
- As required under the terms of a December 1998 consent order, ABB AB, ABB AG (collectively, "ABB"), Elsag Bailey Process Automation N.V., has submitted an application for approval to divest the Analytical Division Assets (as defined in the consent order) of Applied Automation, Inc. ("AAI"), to a Commission-approved buyer. ABB proposes to divest the AAI Assets to Siemens Corporation, a subsidiary of Siemens AG. (See news release dated January 11, 1999; Docket No. C-3867; Staff contact is Dan Ducore, 202-326-2526.)
Comments on B.A.T.'s petition and ABB's application to divest should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final a consent agreement with the following entity. The Commission action makes the consent order binding on the respondent.
- Monier Lifetile, LLC -- The Commission vote to make the order final was 4-0. (See news release dated March 2, 1999; Staff contact is Nicholas R. Koberstein, 202-326-2743.)
Copies of the documents mentioned in this FYI are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD 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.
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