The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Gillette by Procter & Gamble, both based in the US. However, in an interesting portrayal of how competition law works, the approval is conditional on Procter & Gamble making changes to its battery toothbrush business. Since the merger will combine two leading global producers of branded consumer goods, the Commission’s market investigation focussed on potential anti-competitive effects arising from the parties' large combined product portfolio. The market investigation has, however, shown that even after the transaction the parties would not be in a position to impose conditions on retailers to the detriment of the consumer. Gillette, as owner of the well known 'Oral B', and Procter and Gamble, who market dental products under the various brands such as 'Crest', gave the Commission cause for concern in the battery toothbrush sector. This, however, was the only remaining competition worry and could be solved by the parties’ commitment to sell off Procter & Gamble's battery toothbrush business.

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