Brussels, 18 February 2013
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of software provider I.R.I.S. by Canon
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of I.R.I.S. of Belgium by Canon Inc. of Japan. The review of this transaction was referred to the Commission by the Belgian competition authority and subsequently joined by the national competition authorities of Austria, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Sweden. The Commission's investigation found that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors in the relevant office automation equipment and capture software markets.
In particular, the Commission examined the competitive effects of the acquisition in the markets for different types of portable document scanners where both Canon and I.R.I.S. are active. Although the two companies are important players in some countries, the investigation concluded that the merged entity will continue to face significant competition both in the European Economic Area (EEA) and in individual Member States.
In addition, I.R.I.S. develops and sells different types of capture software for hardware products with scanning functionalities, a field where Canon has substantial business activities. However, the investigation showed that competing office automation equipment manufacturers which licence capture software will continue to benefit from alternatives to the merged entity. Moreover, the transaction will not affect the sales opportunities of competing software vendors.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 14 January 2013.
Companies and products
Canon is active globally in a wide array of consumer and professional imaging and other electronic equipment, as well as in related software and services.
I.R.I.S. develops and commercialises software related to office automation equipment and sells some related hardware and services.
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: