Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

FTC Halts Acquisition of Class Ring Company by Competitor

On April 17, 2014, the Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, Deborah Feinstein, praised the agency’s role in preventing Jostens, Inc. (“Jostens”) from acquiring American Achievement Corp. (“AAC”). In a statement, she said,

“The parties’ abandonment of the transaction preserves competition for consumers in the markets for class rings, which are an important memento for millions of high school and college graduates across the country.  A combination of two of the three leading manufacturers would have led to higher prices and lower quality for the students and their parents who purchase these rings.”

Earlier in the day, the FTC voted to seek a preliminary injunction in federal court to stop Jostens from proceeding with its $500 million proposed acquisition of its competitor, AAC. The acquisition would have allegedly eliminated competition in the class ring industry, since the combined companies would have controlled an “unduly high percentage” of the high school and college ring markets. The FTC also charged in an administrative complaint that the resulting company can then raise prices while reducing the quality of the products and services provided to students and their parents, while also making it easier for the remaining two competitors to coordinate the market.

The FTC voted 4-0 to file both the administrative complaint and the injunction.

 Mark Ye
202-589-1834
mye@dbmlawgroup.com