The Federal Trade Commission has approved the appointment of a monitor trustee and a related agreement to ensure that Polypore International, Inc. fully complies with a 2010 Commission administrative order to divest the assets of rival firm Microporous Products L.P., which it acquired in 2008.
The FTC’s administrative complaint, issued in September 2008, challenged Polypore’s consummated acquisition of rival battery separator manufacturer Microporous, and other conduct by Polypore, as anticompetitive and in violation of the federal antitrust laws. According to the complaint, the consummated transaction led to decreased competition and higher prices in several North American markets for battery separators, a key component in flooded lead-acid batteries.
In March 2010, an administrative law judge upheld the FTC’s complaint, ruling that the acquisition was anticompetitive and ordered Polypore to divest Microporous to an FTC-approved buyer. Polypore appealed the ALJ’s ruling and it was upheld by the full Commission in a decision and order issued in November 2010, which became final on January 28, 2011. Although Polypore has appealed the Commission’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals, all provisions of the order except for the divestiture provisions are final and effective during the appeal.
Under the FTC’s order, Polypore is required to retain a monitor trustee, acceptable to the agency, by March 1, 2011, to ensure that it complies with all of the requirements of the order, including that it maintain the Microporous assets pending divestiture, allow certain customers to reopen their contracts, and fully divest the Microporous assets if the FTC decision and order is upheld on appeal. Polypore has entered into an agreement with James L. Schaeffer and J.L. Schaeffer & Associates, LLC to serve as the monitor in this matter The FTC has approved the appointment of Mr. Schaeffer and J.L. Schaeffer & Associates, LLC as the monitor trustee and has approved the agreement.
The FTC vote approving the appointment of the monitor trustee and related monitor trustee agreement was 5-0. A copy of the agreement can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. (FTC Docket No. D09327; the staff contact is Elizabeth A. Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623; see press release dated December 13, 2010.)
Copies of the document mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.