The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions. The FTC staff contact is Dan Ducore, 202-326-2526.
Applications for prior approval of transactions: The FTC has received an application for prior approval of a divestiture from the following. The application will be subject to public comment for 30 days, until May 6.
- First Data Corporation, of Hackensack, New Jersey, has submitted a revised application for approval to divest its MoneyGram consumer money wire transfer business to a newly-formed corporation, MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. First Data then will sell shares of common stock it gets in the deal through a registered initial public offering. The revised application includes numerous exhibits, include First Data’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the initial public offering, as well as certain transitional agreements between First Data and MoneyGram Payment Systems. The first application was submitted on March 26, but the new submission restarts the public comment period (See March 29, 1996 news advisory regarding the original application; Docket No. C-3635).
Petitions to reopen and modify FTC orders: The FTC has received a petition from the following entity. The Commission is seeking public comments on it for 30 days, until May 6.
- Pendleton Woolen Mills, Inc., headquartered in Portland, Oregon, has submitted a revised petition asking the FTC to reopen and modify a 1979 consent order, so as to allow Pendleton to exert unilateral control over how its products are marketed and sold, and who sells them. The order settled charges that Pendleton engaged in resale price maintenance, which involves agreements with retailers about the prices at which they can advertise and sell products, in violation of federal antitrust laws. The order prohibits similar violations, but also contains “fencing in” provisions that prohibit unilateral conduct in which, absent the order, Pendleton could lawfully engage. Pendleton seeks elimination of these fencing in provisions, arguing that they are warranted by changes in the industry and that they are in the public interest. This petition contains some additional materials not included in a petition that Pendleton submitted last September and later withdrew (see Sept. 14, 1995 news release regarding the original petition; Docket No. C-2985).
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the orders binding on the respondents.
- Praxair, Inc., of Danbury, Connecticut, settling allegations that its $2 billion acquisition of CBI Industries, Inc. would violate federal antitrust laws by reducing competition and raising prices in the market for industrial atmospheric gases in several areas of the country. The order is intended to restore this lost competition, and requires Praxair to divest four atmospheric gases production plants -- one each in Vacaville and Irwindale, California; Bozrah, Connecticut; and Madison, Wisconsin -- within 12 months (see Jan. 11, 1996 news release for more detail regarding the consent order; Commission vote 5-0 on April 1; Docket No. C-3648). Staff contact is Ann Malester, 202-326-2682.
- The Stop & Shop Companies, Inc., of Quincy, Massachusetts, and SSC Associates, L.P., of New York City, settling charges that the Stop & Shop merger with Purity Supreme, Inc. would violate antitrust laws by reducing supermarket competition in five Massachusetts areas -- the Boston metropolitan area, Cape Code, the South Shore area, Bedford and Brockton. The consent order is intended to restore that competition by requiring the merged firm, within nine months, to divest a total of 17 stores in the five areas to entities that will run them in competition with its remaining stores (see Nov. 1, 1995 news release for more detail regarding the consent order; Commission vote occurred on April 2 and was 5-0, with Commissioner Azcuenaga issuing a statement in which she said she concurred in the divestiture order with respect to the Cape Cod and South Shore markets, but dissented with respect to the Boston market; Docket No. C-3649). Staff contact is Ron Rowe, 202-326-2610.
- Devro International PLC, of Scotland, and its U.S. subsidiary, Devro, Inc., of Somerville, New Jersey, settling charges that their $135 million acquisition of Teepak International, Inc. would violate antitrust laws by combining the nation’s top two producers of collagen sausage casings and substantially reducing competition in that market. To restore competition, the consent order requires Devro International and Devro to divest within three months the assets they use to produce collagen sausage casings for sale in the United States to a buyer not already in that market (see Dec. 5, 1995 news release for more detail regarding the consent order; Commission vote occured on April 3 and was 5-0, with Commissioner Azcuenaga issuing a statement in which she said she has reservations about excluding some incumbent firms as potential acquirers; Docket No. C-3650). Staff contact is Ron Rowe, 202-326-2610.
Comments on the application and the petition should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, same address; 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