© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Abbott’s milk powder products are displayed on a shelf at a supermarket in Beijing August 7, 2013.
(Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether baby-formula makers colluded on bids for attractive state contracts, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The FTC is looking into whether Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:) and other formula manufacturers have “engaged in collusion or coordination with any other market participant regarding the bidding”, the WSJ report said, citing documents posted to FTC’s website.
The Journal added that the antitrust agency is also investigating whether company coordination affected sales more broadly, outside of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) formula-supply program.
The FTC has sought information from Nestle, which makes the Good Start line of infant formulas, a company spokeswoman told the Journal, adding that the Swiss manufacturer has responded to the FTC.
FTC, Abbott, and Nestle did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
In February, Abbott said it received a civil investigative demand from the FTC related to a probe of the companies participating in bids for WIC formula contracts.