BASF, a German chemical products company, has received clearance under the EU Merger Regulation for its acquisition of Ciba, a Swiss speciality chemicals company. The European Commission cleared the proposed acquisition subject to BASF’s commitment to divest various activities of the merged entity.
The Commission’s investigation into the proposed acquisition raised competition law concerns with regard to a number of speciality chemical product markets. These included products in the paper, plastics and skincare industries, as well as several pigments. To remedy these concerns, BASF offered to divest its production assets, know-how and businesses in these areas in several European countries.
The Commission concluded that the package of divestments offered by BASF was sufficient to allay its concerns and cleared the transaction without progressing to an in-depth, Phase II investigation. The parties still await clearance from the US and Swiss competition authorities, which are expected to approve the acquisition by early April.