FTC kills Harry's buyout, but will it discourage other deal-makers

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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Edgewell Personal Care CEO Rod Little

There is consternation in emerging brand land after the Federal Trade Commission surprised Schick parent company Edgewell Personal Care and blocked its $1.4 billion acquisition of Harry’s.

Edgewell Personal Care, maker of Schick brand shaving products, was blocked from acquiring rival Harry’s by the Federal Trade Commission, a move that has implications for all emerging brands hoping for an exit to a growth challenged CPG company.

The FTC voted unanimously to block the deal, a move that appeared to catch Edgewell off guard. CEO Rod Little in his letter to shareholders in the company’s annual report described the combination as imminent. When the company last reported quarterly results on November 12, 2019, Little talked about making substantial progress on integration planning for a deal that was announced in May and was expected to close in the first quarter.

Now Edgewell is evaluating its options and other potential acquirers of direct-to-consumer brands will have to be more vigilant when assessing the perceived competitive implications of potential acquisitions. For more on what went wrong, visit Consumer Goods Technology.