EC competition concerns will not stop $17bn Sigma-Aldrich deal, says Merck

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Merck KGaA has submitted commitments regarding its Sigma-Aldrich takeover to Europe's monopoly commission
Merck KGaA has submitted commitments regarding its Sigma-Aldrich takeover to Europe's monopoly commission

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Merck KGaA is confident it will close the $17bn acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich in mid-2015 despite competition concerns from the European Commission (EC).

The provisional deadline for the EC to approve the Sigma-Aldrich takeover – first announced by Germany’s Merck in September 2014​ – is June 15, according to a filing by the European competition regulator.

The filing​ notes concerns over a combined entity’s manufacturing scope for basic pharmaceutical products, chemicals and instruments and appliances for measuring, testing and navigation, but adds it received correspondence from Merck last Friday which hopes to address these,.

“In the course of the full cooperation of Merck with the EU Commission, Merck has submitted its Commitments to ensure that the limited concerns of the Commission are addressed appropriately,”​ Merck spokesman Markus Talanow told

“We continue to work toward a closing of the transaction in mid-2015. As per our standard practice, we will not disclose any details before agreements have been reached.”

Merck’s last mega-merger was the $7.2bn takeover of EMD Millipore in 2010​, adding a range of bioresearch and bioproduction equipment and tools to the drugmaker’s business.

The EC approved the deal without any stipulations, stating that “although the parties are both active in the life science business, they focus on different markets,”​ and the acquisition is largely complementary.

With the addition of Sigma-Aldrich, however, there is some crossover with Merck’s Millipore unit, specifically over fine chemical production and biopharma-focused products and testing services.

Last year, the EC approved Thermo Fisher’s $13.6bn acquisition of Life Technologies​ only after imposing on several conditions.

These included that Thermo divest its Hyclone media and sera for cell culture business – excluding single-use systems – as well as its Lafayette, Colorado-based gene modulation business, and polymer-based magnetic beads unit.

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