FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges That Ardagh’s Proposed Acquisition of Saint-Gobain Would Be Anticompetitive; Approves Ardagh’s Application to Sell Six Glass Plants and Related Assets

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Ardagh Group SA’s $1.7 billion proposed acquisition of Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. would likely harm competition in the markets for glass containers sold to beer brewers and spirits distillers.

The FTC’s administrative complaint, issued in July 2013, alleged that the proposed acquisition would concentrate most of the $5 billion U.S. glass container industry in two companies – the newly combined Ardagh/Saint-Gobain and Owens-Illinois, Inc.  If the merger had proceeded as proposed, these two companies would have controlled about 85 percent of the glass container market for brewers and 77 percent of the market for distillers, reducing competition and likely leading to higher prices for customers buying glass containers for beer or spirits.

In settling the FTC’s complaint, Ardagh agreed 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. The six plants are located in Elmira, N.Y.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Warner Robins, Ga.; Henryetta, Okla.; Lawrenceburg, Ind.; and Shakopee, Minn.

In a separate action also announced today, the Commission approved Ardagh’s application to sell the six manufacturing plants and related assets to Glass Container Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners L.P., as required under the now final settlement order.

The Commission vote approving the final consent order and a letter to the member of the public who commented on it was 3-1-1, with Commissioner Joshua Wright voting no and Commissioner Terrell McSweeny not participating. The vote approving the proposed divestitures also was 3-1-1, with Commissioner Joshua Wright voting no and Commissioner Terrell McSweeny not participating. (Docket No. D-9356; the staff contacts are Catharine Moscatelli, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2749; and Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., SW, Room CC-5422, Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *