Commerce Commission has ruled out Reckitt Benckiser’s proposal to purchase Johnson & Johnson’s K-Y brand. The Commission said that it was not satisfied that the merger of Durex and K-Y would not have the likely effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of personal lubricants to New Zealand supermarkets and pharmacies.
Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said that although the merger had been approved in other countries, New Zealand’s market was unique due to the limited number of suppliers to main retailers. Durex and K-Y are the leading personal lubricant brands in New Zealand and enjoy strong customer loyalty. “In our view, we could not exclude the real chance that as a result of this merger Durex and K-Y’s wholesale prices would increase,” Berry said.