Electrolux has already swept up Frigidaire and Tappan and is now closing in on General Electric's appliance business. But the Justice Department wants to pull the plug on the deal, saying that the $3.3 billion acquisition would be anticompetitive.
If the deal goes through, Electrolux would control too much of the market for ranges, cooktops and wall ovens, reducing competition and resulting in higher prices and less choice for American consumers, who spend more than $4 billion annually on major cooking appliances.
“Electrolux’s proposed acquisition of General Electric’s appliance business would leave millions of Americans vulnerable to price increases for ranges, cooktops and wall ovens, products that serve an important role in family life and represent large purchases for many households,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Leslie C. Overton of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
“This lawsuit also seeks to prevent a duopoly in the sale of these major cooking appliances to builders and other commercial purchasers, who often pass on price increases to home buyers or renters," Overton said.
Electrolux North America Inc. is an Ohio corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Electrolux North America Inc. makes and sells major appliances, including those under the brand names Frigidaire, Tappan and Electrolux. Electrolux’s annual major-appliance sales in the United States total approximately $2.6 billion. Electrolux North America Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of defendant AB Electrolux.
General Electric Company is a New York corporation headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut. General Electric’s appliance business is based in Louisville, Kentucky. It makes and sells major appliances, including those under the brand names GE Monogram, GE Café, GE Profile, GE, GE Artistry and Hotpoint. In the United States, General Electric’s annual major appliance sales total approximately $3.4 billion.