Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Are the candy mergers anticompetitive?

To advocate for the 1988 Hershey's/Peter Paul & Almond Joy merger, attorneys for Hershey's came into the Justice Department with three lawyer briefcases--the ones that are 12 inches wide--filled with candy bars. They dumped them onto three conference tables put end to end, and separated out the merging candy bars. The Hershey's brands were Hershey's Chocolate, Hershey's Chocolate with Almonds, and Mr. Goodbar, and the acquired brands from Cadbury were Almond Joy, Peter Paul, and Peppermint Patties. They said "Gentlemen, this is the merger we are talking about."

That was the substance of the presentation. I remember combing through the 3 inch thick pile of candy to find one of my favorite candy bars from childhood, Abba Zaba, and being very disappointed that they didn't leave a copy of the evidence with us.

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