The US Federal Trade Commission (The US Federal Trade Commission, FTC) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to prevent the US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. from acquiring Billie, a personal care brand for women on the Internet.
Billie is an Internet start-up that produces and sells women’s personal care products. It was established in New York in 2017. Its products include women’s razors, makeup remover wipes, lipsticks, and bath shampoos. The P&G transaction with Billie was officially announced in January this year, and the specific amount was not disclosed at that time. Before this transaction, Billie had completed four rounds of financing with a total of 35 million US dollars.
The FTC and the US Justice Department jointly enforce antitrust laws. The FTC stated that the merger of the two companies will “stifle emerging competitors in the wet razor industry” and result in the loss of consumers (of the latter).
The FTC said that Procter & Gamble is the company with the highest sales volume of razor products for men and women, and its brands include Gillette and Venus. And Billie sells high-quality female razors at moderate prices. And in the marketing process, Billie emphasized the fight against the so-called “pink tax”, that is, some companies charge women higher fees for similar products.
FTC’s Ian Conner said: “Billie has found customers who have a strong sense of price and product quality, and saw an opportunity to challenge P&G’s market leadership. As sales grow, Billie is likely to enter physical stores, which poses a serious threat to P&G. Threat. If P&G stifles Billie’s rapid growth, consumers may bear higher prices.”
P&G said it is considering various options. A spokesperson for the company said: “We are disappointed with the FTC’s decision, and we are considering other options based on the decision.”
Procter & Gamble has recently launched a wave of acquisitions. In addition to Billie, P&G also acquired the personal care company Walker & Company. The company created Bevel, a grooming series for men of color, and Form, a hair care series for women of color. In February 2019, P&G announced the acquisition of This is L, a feminine care brand that sells tampons and wipes.
In February of this year, the FTC also blocked the acquisition of the Internet razor and grooming brand Harry’s by the US personal care group Edgewell on antitrust grounds. Edgewell finally abandoned the acquisition.