December 8, 2020

By Diane Bartz

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint on Tuesday aimed at stopping Procter & Gamble Co from buying Billie, Inc, which sells women’s razors and other body care products.

The agency, which works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law, said P&G was the top seller of razors for both men and women, including the Gillette and Venus brands.

The FTC said Billie sold quality razors for women at a moderate price. In its marketing, Billie highlights the so-called “pink tax,” collected by companies that charge women more than men for comparable products.

The P&G deal for Billie, which began selling in November 2017, was announced in January.

“Billie saw an opportunity to challenge P&G’s position as the market leader by finding underserved, price and quality conscious customers,” said Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “As its sales grew, Billie was likely to expand into brick-and-mortar stores, posing a serious threat to P&G.”

P&G said it was considering its options. “We were disappointed by the FTC’s decision, and we’re considering our options in light of the decision,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

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