[Graphics by Minu Kim and Song Ji-yoon]
South Korea’s antitrust watchdog on Tuesday approved Danaher Corporation’s proposed acquisition of General Electric’s biopharma unit on condition that either of the two companies should divest certain assets to address monopoly concerns.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission said a total of 32 bioprocessing products are overlapped in their current business areas and combining eight of these are not allowed, adding potential price hikes and monopoly concerns after the merger in Korea.
The KFTC’s latest decision is in sync with the European Commission. The U.S. medical equipment maker Danaher received conditional EU approval in December for the $21.4 billion business combination deal after agreeing to sell five businesses to third parties. It is also in line with the government’s policy to support the nascent bio industry designated as one of the country’s future growth engines.
Danaher is a U.S. biotech company that operates businesses in life science, diagnostics, water treatment, and dentistry. It is also the world`s second largest manufacturer of dental implants.
Danaher filed for an antitrust review with the KFTC last May.
The eight business areas pointed out by the KFTC include microcarriers, single LPLC skid, ordinary LPLC column, affinity chromatography resins, ion exchange resins, mixed mode chromatography resins, continuous chromatography skid, and label-free analysis. The two companies control from 50.9 percent to 87.4 percent in each market. GE BioPharma generated 1.69 billion won ($1.42 million) in sales in 2018. Korea heavily relies on imports of foreign goods in lab equipment and other consumables in life science research. The localization rate is a mere 16.5 percent.
By Moon Jae-yong and Minu Kim
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