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EU approves acquisition of Millipore by Merck

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Millipore, a US-based life science group of companies by the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck.

The Commission concluded that the acquisition would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Through the proposed transaction, Merck would take sole control over Millipore by purchase of shares. Merck is active worldwide in the discovery, development and manufacture of chemical and biological molecules as well as products and services for the analytical and preparative laboratory. In addition, Merck supplies input for production processes in the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries.

Millipore develops, produces and sells, among others, laboratory water solutions, reagents, kits, antibodies, tools for purifying, preparing or screening biological samples and complementary accessories.

Although the parties are both active in the life science business, they focus on different markets. Millipore supplies inputs for the research, development and production of biological drugs created through biological processes, whereas Merck's inputs mainly serve in the research, development and production of products created through chemical processes. Merck's activities relating to biologics are limited. Therefore, the transaction is largely complementary.

The parties' activities overlap modestly with respect to the markets for Luminex immunoassays and air monitoring systems. However, the parties' combined market shares remain relatively low with only modest increments resulting from the transaction. Given also the presence of strong alternative competitors, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction does not raise competition concerns.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 2 June 2010.

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