Part 3 Administrative Complaints
The FTC challenged Ardagh Group, S.A.’s proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc., alleging that it will reduce competition and result in the two firms – the merged firm and its only remaining significant competitor, Owens-Illinois – controlling in excess of 75 percent of the U.S. markets for glass containers for beer and spirits customers, resulting in higher prices for those customers. The FTC issued an administrative complaint against the two companies, alleging that the acquisition would violate U.S. antitrust law. The proposed acquisition would combine the second-largest manufacturer of glass containers (Saint-Gobain) and the third-largest (Ardagh).The complaint alleges that glass container competitors possess a wealth of information about each other and the glass container industry, and that reducing the number of major competitors from three to two will make it substantially easier for the remaining two competitors to coordinate with one another to achieve supracompetitive prices or other anticompetitive outcomes. The Commission also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in federal court to preserve the status quo pending the outcome of the administrative trial on the merits. On 11/3/13, the parties stipulated to a hold separate order in the federal court proceeding. On 11/8/13 the Commission stayed the part 3 litigation pending settlement discussions. On 4/10/14, Ardagh Group SA agreed to sell six of its nine glass container manufacturing plants in the United States to settle the FTC's charges. The FTC’s settlement order requires Ardagh to sell six of the manufacturing plants and related assets it acquired through its 2012 acquisition of Anchor Glass Container Corporation, along with Anchor’s former corporate headquarters in Tampa, Fla.