The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Baker Hughes Incorporated (Baker Hughes) by General Electric Company (GE).
On 6 January 2017, GE and Baker Hughes announced that the companies will establish a new listed company combining the oil and gas business of GE and the whole business of Baker Hughes. The global merger is valued at approximately US$32 billion.
The ACCC says the merger remedy obtained by the US Department of Justice requiring GE to sell its GE Water business to Suez brings certainty that this sale will occur, removing potential competition concerns in Australia.
In Australia, GE (through GE Water) and Baker Hughes are key suppliers of downstream chemicals, particularly refinery process chemicals. Downstream chemicals are primarily used by the petrochemical and refinery industry to treat water and wastewater to make it suitable for use or disposal.
The ACCC began an investigation into the effect the global merger would have on the Australian market in February 2017.
“Over the course of this merger investigation, we spoke to major customers of both companies, including oil refineries and energy companies,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“While the acquisition would increase concentration in some segments of downstream chemicals, we accept the global sale of GE Water to Suez will remove the overlap and resolve those potential concerns.”
The ACCC also determined the proposed acquisition was unlikely to raise competition concerns in the supply of inline inspection and integrity services.
Over the course of its review, the ACCC worked closely with a number of competition agencies including the US Department of Justice, the European Commission, and the Canadian Competition Bureau.