The Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to block mattress supplier Tempur Sealy International from acquiring retailer Mattress Firm in a $4 billion deal over concerns the combined business would suppress competition and send prices soaring.

Tempur Sealy — which owns Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster and Sealy — is the worlds largest mattress supplier.

It initially agreed to buy Mattress Firm — the nation’s largest bedding retailer — in May 2023.

But the FTC authorized a lawsuit in federal court to block the merger.

This deal isnt about creating efficiencies; its about crippling the competition, which would raise prices on an essential good and could lead to layoffs for good paying American manufacturing jobs in nearly a dozen states, FTC Bureau of Competition Director Henry Liu said in a statement.

The commission said the merger could kneecap rivals by limiting their access to Mattress Firm floor space or initiating unfair store incentives, like higher employee commission rates for Tempur Sealy sales.

The FTC said the merger could raise prices for mattress customers, who are often working class, older adults with limited disposable income, and hurt workers — thousands of whom are employed by competing mattress suppliers that might be forced to shutter due to unfair competition.

Tempur Sealy claimed that the merger would only benefit consumers by improving the customer experience and driving efficiencies.

The mattress supplier said it believes a successful litigation process can be completed in the coming months, allowing the acquisition to close in late 2024 or early 2025.

The merger was originally expected to be completed in the second half of 2024.

The deal would have given Tempur Sealy and Mattress Firm a strong manufacturing and retail base, with around 3,000 stores and 71 manufacturing facilities, and helped the companies through a furniture sales slowdown after high furniture sales during the pandemic.

Tempur Sealy would provide Mattress Firm a cushion after some of its past struggles — the mattress retailer filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to close up to 700 of its worst-performing stores in 2018.

This deal would not be the first acquisition Mattress Firm has been involved with. In 2015, Mattress Firm who took over Sleepys for $780 million — a deal which added more than 1,000 storefronts to its portfolio.

In recent years, mattress manufacturers and retailers have been hit hard by online competition, including bed-in-a-box mattress maker Casper and Amazon.

With Post wires