Germany’s Merck Wins Last Antitrust Nod for Sigma-Aldrich

12.08.2015 -

With the unconditional approval of Brazil's Council for Economic Defense (CADE), German chemicals and pharmaceuticals producer Merck KGaA has taken the final antitrust hurdle for its planned $17 billion acquisition of US fine chemicals producer Sigma-Aldrich.

The clearance, effective after a waiting period of 15 days, follows recent approvals by competition authorities in Israel and South Korea. Merck is eyeing the third quarter of this year for completion of the transaction, still subject to fulfillment of commitments made to the European Commission in exchange for its blessing of the deal in June of this year.

To meet the EU’s conditions, Merck and Sigma-Aldrich have agreed to sell parts of the latter company’s solvents and inorganics business in Europe. To allow time for the divestments to be completed, terms of the September 21, 2014 merger agreement – which Merck said will create one of the leading players in the $130 billion global life science industry – have been extended.

“Securing antitrust approvals in all relevant jurisdictions brings us very close to our big goal: transforming the life science industry with an enhanced product portfolio, greater capabilities and a broader geographical reach,” said Merck managing board member Bernd Reckmann, who is also CEO Life Science und Performance Materials.