Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

Commission approves proposed acquisition of Mercury by Hewlett Packard

On October 20, the European Commission cleared the proposed acquisition by Hewlett Packard Company of control over the U.S. software company Mercury Interactive Corporation. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.
Hewlett Packard is a technology solution provider to consumers, businesses and institutions throughout the world. Its activities span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services, imaging and printing. Mercury is a software company that develops and markets products in IT governance, application delivery and application management.

The parties’ activities overlap to a significant extent only with respect to performance management software, a category of software used to quantify the actual performance of applications once they have gone live with users, i.e. in the post-deployment phase. However, the Commission found that adverse effects on competition were unlikely to arise as Hewlett Packard continued to face effective competition not only from established competitors with significant market shares but also from many mid-size and smaller suppliers also present in this market.

The Commission also investigated whether the proposed operation could drive competitors out of the market, either by bundling Mercury’s and Hewlett Packard’s products or by denying access for other performance management software vendors to timely information about Hewlett Packard’s system management software. The Commission came to the conclusion that the presence of strong competitors in each market would most likely render such strategies unsustainable.

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Andre Barlow

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