WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Benco Dental Supply Co and Patterson Companies Inc (PDCO.O) have decided not to appeal a judge’s decision that they violated antitrust law by declining to compete for the business of buying groups, the Federal Trade Commission said on Friday.
The FTC accused the companies, two of the three largest U.S. full-service distributors of dental supplies ranging from chairs to cement to gloves, of violating antitrust law in February 2018.
An FTC administrative law judge ruled last month that “there was an agreement between Benco and Patterson to refuse to offer discounted prices or otherwise negotiate with buying groups.”
That agreement was illegal, the judge said.
Patterson said in a statement that the FTC had approached it with an offer for a settlement, and the company, while denying any wrongdoing, “determined that a settlement is in the company’s best interest, and allows us to avoid the costs, distraction and uncertainty related to this matter.”
The FTC did not respond to a request for comment.
Benco said in a statement it was “pleased that, contrary to the FTC’s original claim, it was concluded that there was no industrywide conspiracy regarding dental buying groups.”
“Considering that no fine was imposed, or onerous restrictions put in place, we feel there is little to gain by committing any further resources to the matter,” it said.
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jonathan Oatis