SummaryReckitt Benckiser plc (Reckitt) proposed to acquire Boots Healthcare International (part of the Boots plc group) (BHI). Reckitt is the parent of a global group of companies which manufacture and sell household cleaning products (including fabric care, surface care and dishwashing products), health and personal care products, and food. BHI is the over-the-counter (OTC) medicines business of Boots plc group. BHI is active in over 130 countries in the manufacture and sale of OTC products. The areas of overlap were in the following four categories: over-the-counter analgesics, cold & flu preparations, throat preparations and personal use antiseptic & disinfectant products.
Market definitionThe ACCC considered the relevant markets to be the national markets for each of the following products:
a. over-the-counter analgesics
b. cold & flu preparations
c. throat preparations and
d. personal use antiseptic & disinfectant products.
Competition analysisIn each of these markets, the ACCC noted that, while there would be small increases in market share as a result of the proposed acquisition, there were well-established competitors who would be likely to constrain the merged entity post-acquisition, that substitutes were readily available (with barriers to switching by customers appearing to be low), and that contract manufacturers and a lack of patents in respect of the vast majority of products suggested barriers to entry for manufacturing were unlikely to be high. After consideration of the merger factors and conducting market inquiries, the ACCC formed the view that the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any relevant market and, accordingly, the ACCC did not oppose the acquisition.