P&G Grooming’s Response To Disruptor Billie? ‘Female First’ Subscription Shave Brand Will Join Venus
P&G has acknowledged that it was slow to react to direct-to-consumer threats in the men’s shave market. Perhaps intent on avoiding the same mistakes, the firm plans to acquire Billie, a subscription-based razor and body-care startup that has endeared itself to younger demographics with its affordable offerings and of-the-moment messaging.
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Less than a year after the US FTC put the skids on Edgewell’s intended acquisition of Harry’s, it is intervening to stop P&G from buying women’s razor startup Billie. “If P&G can snuff out Billie’s rapid competitive growth, consumers will likely face higher prices,” FTC leadership says.
Schick owner Edgewell will not acquire upstart Harry’s if the US Federal Trade Commission has its way. According to the FTC’s complaint, the combination proposed in May 2019 “would eliminate one of the most important competitive forces in the shaving industry” that has disrupted Edgewell and P&G’s longstanding dominance of the market, to the benefit of consumers.
P&G’s grooming segment grew 4% in its latest quarter, the third consecutive of organic growth as the Gillette brand wins 18m customers in 12 months. The results suggest investments the company made to ward off subscription-based competitors are starting to pay off.