The Federal Trade Commission continues its streak of breaking up consummated mergers, announcing today that Australian chemical company Nufarm Limited will sell assets related to its 2008 acquisition of rival A.H. Marks Holding Limited.
The FTC charged that the deal hurt competition in the U.S. market for three herbicides that are relied upon by farmers, landscapers, and consumers.
Under a proposed FTC settlement, Nufarm will sell rights and assets associated with two of the herbicides to competitors and will modify agreements with two other companies to allow them to fully compete in the market for the other herbicide.
Nufarm was represented by Steven Kowal of K & L Gates. FTC lawyers who worked on the matter include Jonathan Platt and Nancy Turnblacer.
The settlement marks the third time in two weeks that the FTC has gone after a consummated merger. As reported in The National Law Journal this week, the FTC since the start of fiscal year 2009 has challenged eight consummated mergers. By comparison, during the previous five years, the FTC averaged just one complaint per year.
The uptick in enforcement coincides with a decline in merger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which requires companies to notify the FTC or Department of Justice about large mergers -- the current threshold is $63.4 million -- prior to closing.
In 2009 fiscal year, a mere 713 such merger reviews were filed, a 30-year low