American Achievement, the maker of commemorative products like class rings and yearbooks, has relied on PR counsel from Sard Verbinnen & Co as it sought to be acquired rival Jostens, a $500M move that was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday.

ringsAfter the two companies said on April 17 that they would abandon pursuit of the deal, FTC director Deborah Feinstein released a statement that said the decision "preserves competition for consumers in the markets for class rings, which are an important memento for millions of high school and college graduates across the country."

The FTC held that combining two of the three leading makers of class rings would have led to higher prices and lower quality. Commissioners voted, 4-0, this week to sue for a preliminary injunction in federal court to stop Jostens from moving forward on the acquisition.

Jostens is owned by Armonk, N.Y.-based Visant Corporation.

American Achievement, which markets rings and other products under the balfour brand, is based in Austin.

Sard managing directors Anna Cordasco and Brooke Gordon advise AA.