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6 July 2017Big Pharma

European Commission concerned over Merck and Sigma-Aldrich merger

The European Commission has sent statements of objections to Merck KGaA and Sigma-Aldrich, stating that it has concerns regarding their merger in 2015.

In a statement released today, the Commission said it suspects the companies may not have met their procedural obligations when they sought the Commission’s approval for the deal.

Merck acquired the life sciences company for $17 billion.

The Commission had concerns with the merger before it took place.

It was alarmed that the merger would reduce competition for certain lab chemicals, and gave the companies a condition that it would approve the deal only after they had agreed to sell off part of the business.

The companies then divested certain assets.

But according to the Commission, Merck and Sigma failed to inform it about an important research and development project.

The Commission said: “Merck has in the meantime agreed to license the technology to Honeywell. This means that Honeywell now has the technology it should have received with the divested business.”

It added: “However, this happened almost one year after our decision and only because the Commission was made aware of the issue by a third party.”

The Commission is waiting for a response from the companies. If the Commission concludes that Merck and Sigma have broken the rules, it could fine them up to 1% of their annual turnover.

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