Brussels, 23 November 2012
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Irish electrical company Cooper Industries by rival Eaton
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Cooper Industries of Ireland by Eaton Corporation of the US. The transaction combines the electrical equipment and component businesses of Cooper and Eaton. The Commission's investigation confirmed that following the transaction customers in the electrical components industry will continue to have alternative electrical products suppliers.
The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition in the markets for cabinets for non-hazardous environments, circuit breakers and fuses, where the parties' activities overlap. The Commission's investigation found that a number of competitors remain active for each product type concerned.
In addition, the Commission investigated the vertical links between Cooper’s activities in fuses and Eaton’s switchgears as well as Eaton’s miniature circuit breakers' use in Cooper’s cabinets for hazardous environments. The Commission found that post transaction, the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of competitors upstream and producers would continue to have a range of alternative customers downstream.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 17 October 2012.
Companies and products
Eaton Corporation is a US diversified industrial company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and mainly active in the supply of (i) electrical components, systems and services for power quality, distribution and control; (ii) hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; (iii) aerospace fuel, hydraulic and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and (iv) truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety.
Cooper Industries plc is an Irish manufacturer of electrical equipment listed on the NYSE. Cooper has seven operating divisions and is active in two main business segments: (i) energy and safety solutions and (ii) electrical products.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
More information on the case is available at: