🪒 The FTC closes in on Big Razor. Is Big Tech next?
|Feb 4, 2020|
The company that owns Schick could use some balmy aftershave right now: The Federal Trade Commission nixed -- nicked? -- a $1.3B deal between Edgewell, Schick’s owner, and Harry’s, a popular direct to consumer razor brand.
Big Razor breaks down like this: According to Recode, Gillette has 47% of the market and Edgewell, which also owns Wilkinson Sword, 13.6%. Startups Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s account for 8.6% and 2.6%, respectively.
Edgwell wanted to gain an edge: So it bought Harry’s last May, not long after the startup’s razors went on sale at Target and Walmart. With a new -- and cheaper -- brick-and-mortar competitor, Edgewell was forced to reduce its prices.
And the FTC wants to keep prices low for consumers: It ruled that the acquisition was “anticompetitive because it will eliminate the growing competition between Harry’s and Edgewell that has been highly beneficial to consumers.”
The FTC is on a roll
Big Tech is different than Big Razor for a major reason: Companies like Amazon have largely made prices lower for consumers -- and the FTC uses consumer price impact as a key threshold for defining anticompetitive behavior. But the FTC still has a task force looking into previous and future tech mergers.