Durex firm's takeover of K-Y Jelly raises price fears

Competition watchdog said deal 'could lead to higher prices for personal lubricants'

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The Independent Online

Durex owner Reckitt Benckiser’s hopes of buying lubricant K-Y Jelly are being confronted by competition concerns over the deal.

Britain’s competition watchdog said that the Durex owner’s attempt to buy K-Y Jelly from US giant Johnson & Johnson “could lead to higher prices for personal lubricants”.

Phil Evans, inquiry chair at the Competition and Markets Authority said: “On balance, there seems to be enough of an overlap in the market for personal lubricants for there to be a realistic prospect of consumers facing less competition and possibly higher prices if the two biggest brands come under single ownership.”

While the move may come as a relief to some people across the country, the deal could still go through if Reckitt is willing to reach a compromise with the regulator. The options include a forced sale of K-Y’s UK business.

News of the potential takeover first emerged last year.  Although the price was no disclosed, analysts believe the brand is likely to cost Reckitt about $400 million. A final decision is expected to be made by the watchdog before 18 August.