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15 July 2016

Ball and Rexam: Merger approved

Ball Corporation, Broomfield/USA, has agreed to sell to Ardagh Group S.A., Luxembourg/Luxembourg, eight U.S. aluminum can plants and associated assets in order to settle FTC charges that its proposed acquisition of Rexam PLC, London/Great Britain, – worth USD 8.4 billion when proposed in February 2015 – is likely anticompetitive.

According to the complaint, the acquisition would eliminate direct competition in the United States between Colorado-based Ball, and United Kingdom-based Rexam, which are the first and second largest manufacturers of aluminum beverage cans in both the United States and the world. The complaint alleges without a divestiture, it is likely that the proposed merger would substantially lessen competition for standard 12-ounce aluminum cans in three regional U.S. markets – the South and Southeast, the Midwest, and the West.

Under the terms of the consent agreement, Ball and Rexam are required to divest eight aluminum can plants and related assets in the United States to Ardagh, one of the world’s largest producers of glass bottles for the beverage industry and metal cans for the food industry. Ardagh will acquire aluminum can body plants in Fairfield, Calif., Chicago, Ill., Whitehouse, Ohio, Fremont, Ohio, Winston-Salem, N.C., Bishopville, S.C., and Olive Branch, Miss., and Rexam’s aluminum can end plant located in Valparaiso, Ind.. Ardagh also will acquire Rexam’s U.S. headquarters in Chicago, Ill., and Rexam’s U.S. Technical Center in Elk Grove, Ill.

Throughout the investigation, Commission staff cooperated with staff of the antitrust agencies in the European Union, Brazil, and Mexico, including on the analysis of the proposed transaction and potential remedies, to reach compatible approaches on an international scale.