The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns over Reckitt Benckiser’s acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s K-Y lubricant brand.
Reckitt, which produces personal lubricants under its Durex brand, agreed to purchase K-Y from its parent company in March 2014.
Following an investigation, the CMA has provisionally ruled the deal could lead to “a substantial reduction in competition” in the market.
It noted Durex and K-Y account for almost three quarters of the market, meaning the merger could leave customers “worse off”.
Phil Evans, inquiry chairman, said: “Consumers and retailers differentiate between these two products to some extent.
“However, on balance, there seems to be enough of an overlap in the market for personal lubricants for there to be a realistic prospect of consumers facing less competition and possibly higher prices if the two biggest brands come under single ownership.”
The inquiry is now inviting responses and will continue its assessments before making a final ruling, he added.