WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Monday it had filed an administrative complaint charging that J M Smucker Co's proposed purchase of Conagra Brands Inc's Wesson cooking oil brand would likely lessen competition and violate anti-trust law.
Smucker owns the Crisco brand. If it acquired the Wesson brand, it would control at least 70 percent of the market for branded canola and vegetable oils sold to grocery stores and other retailers, the FTC said in a statement.
"The complaint alleges that the acquisition is likely to increase Smucker's negotiating leverage against retailers, especially traditional grocers, by eliminating the vigorous head-to-head competition that exists between the Crisco and Wesson brands today," the statement said.
Reporting by Eric Beech; editing by Tim Ahmann