FTC Won't Gum Up Deal

Clears Wrigley purchase of Life Savers, Altoids

Published in CSP Daily News

CHICAGO -- U.S. antitrust authorities said on Friday they would not oppose plans by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. to buy the Life Savers and Altoids candy and mint businesses from Kraft Foods Inc., reported Reuters.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it had closed its investigation into the $1.48 billion deal without taking action.

"Upon further review of this matter, it now appears that no further action is warranted by the commission at this time," FTC competition chief Susan Creighton said in letters to both companies' lawyers.[image-nocss]

The deal, announced in November, allows Wrigley to expand in the candy section, where it has expertise and distribution capabilities, while leaving Kraft, which makes Oreo cookies and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, to focus on the rest of the food market.

Wrigley's other brands include Juicy Fruit and Big Red gum, which like Altoids and Life Savers, sell at the top of candy racks at grocery checkout counters and in convenience stores.

The deal includes brands that had sales of $490 million in 2004, Kraft has said. Also included in the sale are the Trolli and Sugus brands.