Edgewell/Harry’s Merger – A Cautionary Tale: Abandoned Merger Signals Active Agency Scrutiny of Disruptive Competitors

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - February 12, 2020

On February 10, 2020, Edgewell Personal Care Co. announced that it would abandon its $1.37 billion acquisition of Harry’s Inc. after the Federal Trade Commission sued to block the deal. The FTC challenge demonstrates that it is closely scrutinizing acquisitions that may eliminate successful market disruptors, particularly in concentrated industries. The challenge also illustrates that statements executives make to investors while a deal is pending can significantly influence the merger clearance process. For private equity and venture investors, the case highlights that antitrust risks may limit available exit strategies for those pursuing investments in disruptive start-ups.