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J. M. Smucker Terminates Deal To Buy Wesson Oil Brand From Conagra

J. M. Smucker Co. (SJM) Tuesday said it has agreed with Conagra Brands Inc., to terminate the deal to acquire Wesson oil brand.

On Monday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission had announced that it filed an administrative complaint challenging the proposed transaction.

"While we disagree with the FTC's conclusion, we have mutually determined with Conagra that it is not in the best interest of either party to expend the anticipated significant additional time and resources to challenge the FTC's administrative complaint," said Mark Smucker, Chief Executive Officer.

"We believe the FTC underestimated the significant role that private label brands play in the oils category, which account for approximately 50 percent of all cooking oil sales and hold significantly higher market share at some retailers. This transaction was expected to provide significant cost synergies to ensure that branded oil products would remain competitive in the market. We continue to be committed to delivering value to our consumers and customers with our Crisco brand and oils business."

FTC had challenged J.M. Smucker's $285 million bid for the Wesson cooking oil brand owned by Conagra. The agency said the deal "is likely 'substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly' in violation of the Clayton Act."

The deal will reduce competition in the US for canola and vegetable oils, as Smucker currently owns the Crisco brand and by acquiring the Wesson brand, it would control at least 70 percent of the canola and vegetable oils market.

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