The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to a consent agreement with The Scotts Company, settling charges that its acquisition of Sternþs Miracle-Gro Products, Inc. would substantially lessen competition and increase prices for water-soluble fertilizer for U.S. consumers. The Commissionþs action makes the consent order provisions binding on the respondents.
Under the final order, Scotts is required to divest its Peters Consumer Water Soluble Fertilizer Business and related assets to Alljack & Company or another Commission-approved buyer by no later than Dec. 31, 1995.
The consent agreement was announced for a public comment period on May 19, 1995. The Commission vote to issue it in final form occurred on September 8 and was 5-0. In keeping with the Commission's new policy that it will not automatically require firms settling antitrust merger charges to submit future related acquisitions to the Commission for prior approval, the Commission substituted a 10-year prior-notice provision for the 10-year prior-approval provision contained in the consent agreement as it was published for public comment. Scotts fulfilled the order's divestiture requirement by selling the Peters Consumer Water Soluble Fertilizer Business to Alljack during the public comment period.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $10,000.
A news release summarizing the complaint and consent agreement was issued at the time the Commission accepted the consent agreement for public comment. Copies of that release and of the complaint and final order 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. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC File No. 951-0056)