The acquisition of International Specialty Products (ISP) by US rival, Ashland, was approved by the European Commission on 16 August 2011. The focus of the Commission’s merger inquiry was on overlaps between the parties in the production of “binders”, used as pharmaceutical additives to control the release of the active ingredients in medicines. The Commission concluded that the binders produced by the companies were largely complementary and based on different chemical compounds, and that the companies would continue to face competition from a number of other suppliers. The Commission also examined the impact of the deal on an existing vertical relationship between the parties in relation to the supply by Ashland of a chemical used by ISP to produce a product which is sold to companies for dental care products. However, that inquiry similarly did not disclose serious competition concerns.