FTC blocks P&G’s bid for subscription shaving brand Billie

The complaint accused P&G of trying to ‘snuff out’ competition from other beauty players

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a federal lawsuit to block P&G’s takeover of subscription shaving brand Billie.

The complaint accused P&G of attempting to ‘snuff out’ competition from emerging brands and said the acquisition would allow the beauty owner to hold too much of the market’s competition.

P&G is the market-leading supplier of women’s and men’s razors, holding the rights to Gillette, Venus and Joy.

The transaction was announced in January 2020, two years after Billie made its debut on the market in November 2017.

“Billie saw an opportunity to challenge P&G’s position as the market leader by finding underserved, price and quality conscious customers, and building an innovative brand,” said Ian Conner, Director of FTC’s Bureau of Competition.

“As its sale grew, Billie was likely to expand into bricks-and-mortar stores, posing a serious threat to P&G.

“If P&G can snuff out Billie’s rapid competitive growth, consumers will likely face higher prices.”

Going head-to-head with Billie’s marketing platform, P&G introduced a direct-to-consumer site for its women’s shaving brand Venus in an effort to outmanoeuvre the fledgling brand.

The FTC is expected to file a restraining order to stop the deal following an administrative trial, which will begin in June 2021.

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