Announced Actions for December 27, 1996

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The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following action.

Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Com mission has made final a consent agreement with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent order binding on the respondents.

  • The consent agreement with Class Rings, Inc., and Castle Harlan Partners II, L.P., both of New York City, and Town & Country Corporation, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, settles charges that Class Rings’ purchase of the commemorative rings businesses of Town & Country and CJC Holdings, Inc. (based in Austin, Texas) would violate federal antitrust laws by combining the number two and number three firms in the market, giving the merged firm nearly 45 percent of the market for all class rings sold and more than 90 percent of the market for class rings sold in retail stores. The consent order restores competition by preventing Class Rings from acquiring Town & Country’s Gold Lance, Inc. division, which will continue as an independent competitor. The order also bars Town & Country from acquiring any interest in or assets of Castle Harlan or Class Rings as part of this merger. In addition, the order includes 10-year provisions that require (1) Class Rings and Castle Harlan to obtain FTC approval before acquiring any interest in, or class-ring related assets of, Gold Lance or Town & Country; and (2) Town & Country to obtain FTC approval before acquiring more than $2 million worth of interest in, or assets of, Class Rings or Castle Harlan. (See Sept. 24, 1996 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3699; Commission vote on Dec. 20 to issue the order as final was 5-0, with Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga concurring except with respect to the prior approval provisions. In a statement, Azcuenaga said these provi sions are inconsistent with the Commission’s policy to institute such provisions only where there is credible risk that a company might attempt the same merger. "The com plaint does not allege any facts showing a ?credible risk’ that the parties might attempt to acquire Gold Lance a second time. Nor am I aware of any reason to think that the parties have a concealed plan or intention to circumvent the order by doing so. . . . I am most sympathetic to the concern that if the parties attempted to repeat the transaction in the future, the Commission might be faced with a significant duplicative expenditure of resources. . . . But given that we have the [Prior Approval] policy, it seems to me incumbent upon the Commission either to live by it or to change it.") Staff contact is Howard Morse, 202-326-2949.

Copies of documents related to this matter are available from the FTC’s web site at and also 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.

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