Judge refuses to halt Parker

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The Independent Online
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A federal judge yesterday rejected a government effort to block the sale of Parker Pen Holdings to Gillette, saying the concentration in the premium fountain pen market would hurt only status-conscious 'rich people'.

The ruling by Stanley Sporkin, US District Judge, denied the request by the Justice Department for a temporary restraining order halting the takeover of the British-based Parker.

The Justice Department said the takeover would give Gillette, which controls 21 per cent of the dollars 46m market in upmarket fountain pens with its Waterman brand, an additional 19 per cent market share now held by Parker.

'You're dealing in an area where rich people are concerned,' Judge Sporkin said. 'I don't think poor people buy these pens.'

Gillette, based in Boston, said in September that it planned to buy Parker for dollars 560m. The deal would make Gillette a rival for Richemont, which sells Mont Blanc and Cartier pens, controlling 40 per cent of the premium market.

A Justice Department official said the government would appeal.