An official file containing details of Europe's biggest-ever merger - the proposed USD67 billion pharmaceuticals sector deal between Astra of Sweden and Zeneca of UK - will soon fall on the European Commission Merger Task Force desk. A spokesman confirmed on December 10 that both drug companies had been in preliminary talks with Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert before they announced the merger which has already sent jitters through stock markets as investors predict a string of counter-mergers in the pharmaceuticals industry (such as those between France's Rhone-Poulenc and Hoechst of Germany or Sanofi and Synthelabo, both French).

The Commission must review all mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a combined world-wide turnover in excess of ECU 5 billion and European sales turnover of ECU 250 million each. Deals should be notified for regulatory clearance in the EU within one week of being signed. It is common practice though for big merging companies to consult DG IV before they take the plunge. Many notifications in fact, are deals that have provisionally been cleared, subject to the Commission's open invitation...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT