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Spice maker McCormick & Co. Inc. has...

Spice maker McCormick & Co. Inc. has dropped its plan to acquire rival Specialty Brands Inc. after the government moved to block the purchase on grounds that it would reduce competition. The Federal Trade Commission authorized its staff to seek a temporary court order barring McCormick from acquiring the “Spice Island” products of Specialty Brands for $65 million. Late Monday, McCormick responded by announcing that "(it) has decided to drop its proposed merger plans.” McCormick, headquartered in Hunt Valley, Md., had 1987 sales of more than $1 billion, making it the nation’s largest spice company. Its stock Monday fell 50 cents to close at $23.75 a share in the over-the-counter market after the government announced its plans to block the purchase.


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