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EU approves merger between IT companies Bell Micro and Avnet

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The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Bell Micro by Avnet. Avnet and Bell Micro are both US-based distributors of information technology products.

After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Both Avnet Inc and Bell Micro Products Inc are active worldwide in the wholesale distribution of electronic components and information technology products ('IT products') and the supply of related services. The parties' customers are typically resellers and retailers of IT products. Bell Micro a public company listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

The Commission examined the effects of the proposed transaction on the market for the wholesale distribution of IT products in the EEA, and in particular for the distribution of data storage products and servers in The Netherlands and in the UK, where the combined entity's position would be strong.

The Commission's investigation showed that the merged entity would continue to face competitive constraint from numerous competitors, including internationally active distributors such as Arrow, Ingram Micro or Tech Data, as well as smaller distributors. In addition, the investigation indicated that manufacturers of IT products have partnerships with several distributors and are able to appoint new distributors. IT manufacturers also sell directly to resellers and retailers, thereby bypassing wholesalers.

Given the competitive constraint exerted by alternative distributors and IT manufacturers, the Commission found that the proposed acquisition would not give rise to competition concerns, including in narrow market segments.

The concentration was notified to the Commission on 28 May 2010.

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