ASSA ABLOY Group aims to divest itself of the Yale smart lock brand in order to avoid antitrust allegations made by the U.S. Department of Justice. That announcement was part of ASSA ABLOY’s formal filing response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s complaint to block the proposed acquisition of the Hardware and Home Improvement division (HHI) of Spectrum Brands.
ASSA ABLOY announced the $4.3 billion acquisition of Spectrum’s HHI division in September 2021. The division includes the Kwikset, Baldwin, Weiser, Pfister and National Hardware brands.
Filed last month, the DOJ’s complaint alleges that the merger would eliminate important head-to-head competition between ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum, risking higher prices, lower quality, reduced innovation and poorer service in the sale of at least two types of residential door hardware: premium mechanical door hardware and smart locks.
The complaint also states that the proposed transaction would transform these markets, giving ASSA ABLOY a near-monopoly in premium mechanical door hardware and more than a 50% share in smart locks, leaving only one significant competitor.
To fully resolve all the alleged competitive concerns surrounding the acquisition of HHI, ASSA ABLOY says it has initiated a sales process of Emtek and its Yale smart residential business in the U.S. and Canada.
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These businesses represented sales of about $350 million in 2021, according to the company. Residential businesses outside of the U.S. and Canada are not in scope to be divested.
According to the 2022 CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis, Yale is the No. 1 most-used smart lock brand with 70% usage. Meanwhile. Kwikset is No. 2 with 63%, Baldwin is No. 4 with 27% and August is No. 5 with 18%. ASSA ABLOY recently announced it was acquiring Doorbird video doorbells.
“We believe strongly in the acquisition of HHI as we together will increase investments in the residential segments and strengthen our combined product offering for the benefit of consumers. The proposed remedies eliminate all competitive concerns alleged by the DOJ,” says Nico Delvaux, president and CEO of ASSA ABLOY.
ASSA ABLOY says the proposed divestitures are dependent on its successful defense against the DOJ regarding the planned acquisition of HHI. It adds that the company will remain fully committed to the businesses during the process and all the businesses will continue to operate as normal.