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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Razor maker Harry's announced $155 million in new funding, one year after the FTC blocked its agreement to be bought by Schick parent Edgewell for $1.37 billion in cash and stock.

Driving the news: The new money will be used for acquisitions, particularly smaller CPG brands that could leverage the Harry's distribution and production network, co-CEO Jeff Raider tells Axios.

  • The Series E round was co-led by Bain Capital Ventures and Macquarie Capital at a $1.7 billion valuation — a higher mark than the original Edgewell deal, even accounting for Edgewell's stock appreciation.

History: Edgewell agreed to buy Harry's in May 2019. The FTC sued the following February, just before the pandemic, arguing that the merger would strengthen a duopoly between Edgewell and market leader Procter & Gamble.

  • The FTC's case had flaws, but Edgewell quickly walked (maybe, in part, because it wasn't required to pay a termination fee).
  • "We apologized to employees," Raider said. "We had always as founders delivered on promises we’d made to the company and that was a moment we didn’t, and we had to own that. It was on us."

Fast forward: The merger would have put Raider and fellow co-CEO Andy Katz-Mayfield in charge of Edgewell's entire North American business, including a skincare unit with brands like Hawaiian Tropic.

  • That caused the Harry's team to spend months planning to run and grow a broader CPG portfolio than just razors. When the deal collapsed, they decided not to let that work go to waste.
  • Raider explains: "We had expanded into other standalone brands on our own and were super excited about taking over their portfolio, but when the deal didn't go through we still thought we had come up with compelling ideas."

The current Harry's portfolio includes men's and women's shaving products, shampoos, deodorants, lotions and even fresh cat food.

  • Raider added that his "phone is ringing off the hook" from SPAC sponsors seeking to take Harry's public, but that the company has plenty of cash (it was profitable last year) and is in no rush.

The bottom line: The FTC's decision might not have brought down razor prices, but it still might have resulted in a much more competitive personal care market.

  • Sometimes the best deals are the ones that you don't make. Even if it's not your choice.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

COP26 head warns Glasgow summit will be "harder than Paris"

Alok Sharma, U.K. COP26 president, in Milan on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

U.K. COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters Tuesday that the upcoming talks in Glasgow, widely viewed as the last chance to avoid some of the worst consequences of global warming, will be extremely difficult.

Driving the news: Sharma sought to temper expectations and note that the agenda features some of the toughest items that negotiators have punted on at previous summits.

6 hours ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.