The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Canadian company Cognos, an independent provider of business analytics software, by IBM Corporation of the US. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

IBM provides a wide range of information technology (IT) solutions comprising software, hardware and services. Cognos offers business analytics software solutions which corporate customers use to analyse, report and visualise data across their organisation to gain better insight into their businesses.

The Commission examined the effects that the proposed merger would have on the business analytics sector and its various sub-divisions. In each instance, the Commission found that the horizontal overlap between the parties' activities would not give rise to competition concerns, since the parties' combined market share would be moderate at EEA level. The combined IBM/Cognos entity would continue to face several strong competitors and customers would find sufficient alternative suppliers of such software products.

The Commission's investigation found no significant risk that the merged entity would be able to close off competitors from the market. IBM's and Cognos' positions in their respective segments of enterprise application software (EAS) would not provide sufficient incentives to prevent standalone business analytics software vendors from integrating with their EAS platforms. [24 January 2008]