On September 25, 2009, the FTC settled with K+S Aktiengesellschaft (“K+S”) regarding its $1.68 billion proposed acquisition of Morton International, Inc. (“Morton”).
The proposed merger would have combined K+S’s subsidiary, International Salt Company LLC (“ISCO”) with Morton. According to the FTC, the combined company would have enjoyed a 70% market share of the bulk de-icing salt market in Maine and Connecticut. There is no practical substitute for de-icing salt and it is unlikely that other salt providers would enter the markets. The transaction could have substantially increased the prices of de-icing salt.
The FTC consent order requires ISCO to sell its bulk de-icing assets in Maine and Connecticut to Eastern Salt Company, Inc. and Granite State Minerals, Inc., respectively. According to the FTC, the consent order will restore competition in production and sales of bulk de-icing salts in the two sates.