U.S. FTC sanctions Purina/Nestle merger

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Washington-Nestle SA received the definitive OK from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Dec. 11 to purchase Ralston Purina.

Washington-

Nestle SA received the definitive OK from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Dec. 11 to purchase Ralston Purina.

The $10.1 billion merger will reportedly create the world?s largest pet food company after the firms agreed to divest two cat food brands to preserve competition.

The divested brands, Meow Mix and Alley Cat, will be sold to Hartz Mountain Corp., of investment firm J.W. Childs Associates.

If Nestle was not required to divest of Meow Mix ? the best-selling dry cat food in the U.S. ?the merger would have garnered the company 45 percent of the dry cat food market.

Staff attorneys at the FTC had urged the agency to approve the deal with some divestitures after about 11 months of investigation.

European antitrust officials had approved the deal last July.

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