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Sept 16, 2022

U.S. Justice Department Sues To Block Acquisition

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block ASSA ABLOY AB’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI) division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. It says ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum are two of the three largest producers of residential door hardware in the concentrated, $2.4 billion U.S. industry. The complaint alleges that the merger would eliminate important head-to-head competition between ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum, risking higher prices, lower quality, reduced innovation, and poorer service in the sale of at least two types of residential door hardware: premium mechanical door hardware and smart locks. Additionally, the proposed transaction would give ASSA ABLOY a near-monopoly in premium mechanical door hardware and more than a 50 per cent share in smart locks, leaving only one significant competitor. Both ASSA ABBLOY and Spectrum have issued statements declaring that they will “vigorously oppose” the DOJ’s “baseless attempt” to block the transaction. The companies have agreed to extend their agreement for ASSA ABLOY to acquire HHI to June 30, 2023.

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