The Federal Trade Commission today announced a consent agreement compelling Houghton International Inc. to divest assets from a 2008 merger.
The company acquired D.A. Stuart GmbH for an undisclosed sum in September 2008, but agreed at the time to hold one business separate pending an FTC investigation.
The agency was concerned that the combined company now controlled almost 75% of the North American market for aluminum hot rolling oil.
The oil is a critical component in the manufacturing process for aluminum used in automobile parts, beverage cans, aluminum aerospace and defense products, as well as building products like window frames and rain gutters.
Custom-formulated for specific mills, the oil lubricates and cools metal as it is turned into coils or plates of finished aluminum stock.
Under the order settling the FTC’s charges, Houghton, which is owned by AEA Investors 2006 Fund, L.P., will sell Stuart’s aluminum oil business to Quaker Chemical Corp.
Houghton was represented by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson partner Peter Guryan.
It’s the FTC’s second attack on a consummated transaction in two months.
In May, the FTC filed suit against The Dun & Bradstreet Corp., objecting to the company’s $29 million purchase of Quality Education Database in February 2009. The case is pending before FTC Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell.
And in March, Chappell found that Polypore International Inc.’s consummated acquisition of rival battery separator manufacturer Microporous L.P. was anticompetitive and violated federal law. He ordered Polypore to divest Microporous to an FTC-approved buyer.