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Threatened with antitrust suit, 3M abandons sticky notes deal

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
updated 10:47 PM EDT, Tue September 4, 2012
St. Paul, UNITED STATES: This 30 May, 2006 photo shows the 3M headquarters building in St. Paul, Minnesota. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
St. Paul, UNITED STATES: This 30 May, 2006 photo shows the 3M headquarters building in St. Paul, Minnesota. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 3M had planned merger with rival note-maker Avery
  • Justice Department says deal would have been bad for competition
  • Justice says the firms' fight for the labels and sticky notes market saves customers millions

Washington (CNN) -- 3M Company has abandoned its plan to acquire a competitor who sells labels and sticky notes after the government said it would fight the proposed merger, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The Justice Department said the 3M agreement with Avery Dennison Corp. would have left Avery without its brand or the sales and distribution system necessary to compete effectively in the sticky notes market.

"We welcome the companies' decision to abandon this deal, which raised competitive concerns in the sale of labels and sticky notes," said Joseph Wayland, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division.

The Justice Department investigation found that 3M and Avery have dominated in certain office products for many years. Avery was tops in labels and 3M was ahead in sticky notes sold under its Post-it brand.

Justice officials said the competitive battle between the two companies for labels and sticky notes saved customers millions of dollars.

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