MTH Holdings, Inc. has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to reopen and set aside provisions of a 1989 consent order requiring prior Commission approval to acquire any grocery store in parts of Vermont and New York and prior notification before making a change in its structure that may affect com- pliance obligations. The order stems from MTH's acquisition of GU Acquisition Corporation ("GUAC") a holding company that owned The Grand Union Company, a national retail grocery store chain.
The FTC had charged that the acquisition would substantially reduce competition among grocery stores in various areas of Vermont and upstate New York. Under the consent agreement, MTH agreed to divest 16 grocery stores in 12 cities and towns in Vermont and New York to eliminate the antitrust concerns created by the acquisition. The order further requires MTH, for ten years, to obtain FTC approval before acquiring any grocery store in any of the New York or Vermont counties in which the divestitures were made. In addition, the order requires MTH to notify the FTC 30 days prior to any change in MTH's structure that may affect its compliance obligations.
In its petition, MTH requests deletion of the prior-approval provision pursuant to a policy announced by the Commission in June 1995, under which the Commission will no longer routinely require parties to a challenged merger to obtain prior approval for future transactions. In addition, the Commission will operate on the presumption that the public interest requires modifying prior-approval provisions in outstanding merger orders to follow the new policy. MTH also requests that the prior notice requirement be set aside because other than the prior approval reequirements, there are no remaining provisions of the order with which MTH must comply.
MTH is based in New York. MTH's petition will be placed on the public record and subject to public comment for 30 days, until Dec. 7. Comments should be addressed to: FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Copies of the petition, as well as other documents relating to this case, 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 FTC news as it is announced, call the FTC's 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 Docket No. C-3266)