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

SAP provides a wide range of enterprise application software solutions. Business Objects, headquartered in France and the US, offers business analytics software solutions and in particular business intelligence solutions which corporate customers use to analyse, report and visualise data across their organisation to gain better insight into their businesses with a view to optimising organisational performance.

The Commission examined the effects that the proposed merger would have on the overall market for enterprise application software and particularly the business analytics sector. In both instances, the Commission found that the horizontal overlap would not give rise to competition concerns, since the parties' combined market share would be moderate at EEA level. The combined SAP/Business Object 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, since SAP's middleware product, SAP Netweaver, is an open platform that allows the integration of multiple business analytics products, including those of competitors of Business Objects solutions. In addition, customers largely favour software products, be it enterprise application software or business analytics, that support the seamless integration of products from various suppliers. Therefore, enterprise application software product vendors like SAP would have no incentive to prevent standalone business analytics software vendors from integrating with their enterprise application system platforms. [27 November 2007]