EC approves Avnet acquisition of Bell Microproducts

The European Commission has approved Avnet's proposed $594m (£392m) takeover of Bell Microproducts after deciding it will not stifle competition in the distribution channel. This was the final hurdle to the deal that was first announced in March and is expected to be completed early this mont

The European Commission has approved Avnet's proposed $594m (£392m) takeover of Bell Microproducts after deciding it will not stifle competition in the distribution channel.

This was the final hurdle to the deal that was first announced in March and is expected to be completed early this month.

"After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it," the EC stated.

The EC review put specific emphasis on the impact of the merger on the distribution of data storage products and servers in the UK and the Netherlands "where the combined entity's position would be strong."

The "investigation" said the EC showed that merged entity would "continue to face competitive constraint from numerous competitors" including Arrow, Ingram Micro and Tech Data and smaller distributors.

It added that IT vendors also have partnerships in place with several distributors - though not in the case of Avnet partner Oracle - and have the ability to appoint new partnerships or target customers directly, "bypassing wholesalers".

"Given the competitive constraint exerted by alternative distributors and IT manufacturers, the Commission found that the proposed acquisition would not give rise to competition concerns, including in narrow markets," the EC concluded.

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