Avery Dennison & 3M Attempt to Resolve Antitrust Issues over Merger

Avery Dennison & 3M Attempt to Resolve Antitrust Issues over Merger

Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY) and 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) issued a joint statement in response to reports released by the Department of Justice that the office product makers voluntarily abandoned their merger transaction.

Avery Dennison & 3M Attempt to Resolve Antitrust Issues over Merger

In a statement, the companies emphasized their commitment to ink the transaction, and they are working together in finding solutions to the antitrust concerns raised by the Department of Justice.

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Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY) and 3M Co (NYSE:MMM)’s statement reads, “In light of the concerns about the transactions raised by the DoJ, the companies have voluntarily withdrawn the notification and report forms filed under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act. The companies continue to believe the transaction would benefit customers and consumers. 3M and Avery are committed to working together to explore options to address the DOJ’s concerns, obtain regulatory approval, and the complete the transaction between the parties.”

3M Co. proposed to acquire Avery Dennison for $550 million in December 2011. The transaction would give the Post-It sticky notes maker an 80 percent control of the office products business, particularly the labels and sticky notes market in the United States.

When the companies announced the transaction, Avery Dennison’s CEO, Dean Scarborough expressed his belief that the merger would provide the best opportunity to maximize the value for the company’s shareholders and complement 3M’s global portfolio.

According to the DOJ, the proposed merger will lessen competition in the market. The justice department threatened to file an antitrust lawsuit against Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY) and 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) to stop the transaction.

The justice department found in its investigation, that Avery Dennison dominated the labels business, while the sticky notes business for many years has been controlled by 3M. In 2009, a competition between the companies started when 3M entered the labels market and Avery Dennison responded by marketing its own sticky notes brand.

The DOJ stated on Tuesday, “The proposed acquisition would have substantially lessened competition in the sale of labels and sticky notes, resulting in higher prices and reduced innovation for products that millions of American consumers use every day.”

According to a report from Bloomberg, 3M is the second largest global player in the labels market after acquiring A-One Label, a Japanese office and consumer label manufacturer and distributor, in 2010.

Meanwhile, analysts from Morgan Stanley & Co. Llc. believed the collapse of the merger is not a disaster, instead it provides a short-term positive impact for 3M. The analysts “maintain that 3M is the optimal 2-way hedge at this stage, since it is a play on global IP acceleration, while minimizing downside risk.”  Morgan Stanley reiterated its overweight rating for 3M stock.

During the morning trading on Wednesday, 3M stock is trading at $91.38 per share, down by o.33 percent, while Avery Dennison’s stock is up by 1.05 percent to $29.91 per share.

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