FTC Clears PepsiCo Buy of Quaker Oats

NEW YORK — The FTC voted unanimously on Wednesday to close its antitrust investigation into PepsiCo’s $14 billion acquisition of the Quaker Oats Co. after deadlocking over the issue of whether to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the deal.

The two companies are now able to proceed with internal negotiations and resolutions, according to FTC spokeswoman Cathy MacFarlane. The companies said they intend to close the transaction within the next several business days.

“We’re delighted to get FTC clearance,” PepsiCo chairman/CEO Steve Reinemund said in a joint statement. “We look forward to completing the deal shortly and putting in action the detailed consolidation plans we’ve been building.”

A key issue for the FTC was PepsiCo’s acquisition of Quaker’s Gatorade, which holds a dominant position in the sports drink market. PepsiCo has agreed to sell its All Sport sports drink brand to ensure the success of the Quaker Oats purchase. Reinemund said that he expects to complete the sale of global rights to All Sport to Atlanta-based Monarch Co. by the end of Wednesday’s business day.

Other Quaker Oats products include Cap’n Crunch and Life cereals, Rice-A-Roni and Aunt Jemima pancake mix. After completion of the deal, the company will have revenues of $25 billion.