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EU greenlights Otto's acquisition of various Quelle assets

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The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by the German Otto Group of certain assets of the Swiss home-shopping companies Quelle Versand AG i.L. (in liquidation) and Spengler Versand AG.

The assets include inter alia trademarks, domain names and rights to use client data. The Commission concluded that the acquisition would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Otto is a trading and service company, which is internationally active through its subsidiaries in various retail channels (including home-shopping), financial and other services. Home-shopping is the distance selling of goods to consumers, inter alia by catalogue, e-commerce, etc.

The assets of Quelle Versand AG i.L. and Spengler Versand AG (together "Quelle Switzerland") were used in particular for home-shopping in Switzerland.

The Commission concluded that the effects of the proposed acquisition are essentially confined to Switzerland and that the acquisition of the assets of Quelle Switzerland would not lead to a significant impediment to effective competition in any EEA Member State.

The acquisition of the Quelle Switzerland assets occurs in the context of the insolvency of the German home-shopping group Primondo GmbH i.L. The Commission has already authorised on 16 February 2010 the acquisition of certain assets of the Primondo Group by Otto, including the Quelle brand, trademark applications, internet domains and the right to use the Quelle customer data base for Germany.

The decision of 16 February 2010 is conditional upon certain commitments which remain in force and are currently in the process of being implemented. The transaction was notified to the Commission for regulatory clearance on 31 March 2010.

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