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EC approves acquisition of Spectrum Brands' business by Energizer, subject to conditions

Staff Writer |
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Spectrum Brands' batteries and portable lighting business by Energizer, both active in the supply of consumer batteries.

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The approval is conditional on the divestment of Spectrum Brand's regional Varta business.

Energizer and Spectrum Brands are two of the world's main manufacturers and suppliers of consumer batteries.

They sell their batteries under the Energizer, Varta and Rayovac brands in the European Economic Area (EEA). Their product portfolios include household batteries (such as AA and Energizer), specialty batteries (such as batteries for cameras or watches) and hearing aid batteries.

On the basis of its preliminary investigation, the Commission was concerned that the proposed transaction, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition in a number of EEA countries.

The merged entity would have become by far the largest supplier (and in some cases, the only supplier) of those products in a number of EEA markets, with limited constraints from competitors. The Commission was therefore concerned that the proposed acquisition would harm competition and lead to increased prices and reduced choice for consumers.

To address the Commission's competition concerns, Energizer offered:

To divest Spectrum Brands' Varta business. More specifically, this entailed the divestment of Spectrum Brands' entire activities in Varta-branded and unbranded household and specialty batteries, chargers and portable lighting, in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA), which includes more than 100 countries.

To enter into an exclusive supply and licence agreement with the purchaser of the Varta business for the sale of Rayovac-branded hearing aid batteries to mass retailers in EMEA. This provides the purchaser with the opportunity to develop its own hearing aid battery business by the end of the supply period via a re-branding strategy.

These commitments remove the overlap between the companies' activities in each of the national markets for which the Commission had concerns.

Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.


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