European Commission approves water merger
The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of US Filter by French water giant Vivendi.
According to the Commission, the companies’ activities only overlap in Western Europe in the design, engineering and provision of water and wastewater treatment systems. Although the operation will lead to further concentration in this sector, the Commission concluded that the merger will not create a dominant position given the strength of existing competitors on the market.
The acquisition is the largest ever made by a French company in the US and will result in a cash bonus of $31.50 per share for USF stockholders.
Once completed, the merger will nearly double the turnover of Vivendi’s water treatment activities, carried out by its subsidiary Générale des Eaux. Générale des Eaux and USF will have a combined annual revenue of $12Bn. World-wide, Générale des Eaux has benefited from the trend towards privatisation and now provides water and wastewater treatment services for nearly 90M people, on every continent.
Vivendi is mainly active in the building industry; real estate; telecommunications and media and environmental activities. Vivendi is particularly involved in the supply and distribution of network drinking water and in the operation of waste water management. Through its subsidiary OTV, Vivendi is also active in the upstream activity of providing engineered systems and services in water and waste water treatment.
The combined market shares of the parties will be below 15% for the total market for water and waste water treatment systems. The Commission’s investigation showed that on all the range of water and waste water treatment products, the parties will face competition in the European Economic Area from strong international-scale competitors such as Degrémont Passavant Impianti, Anglian Water, Wabag, Lurgi Bamag and Stereau.
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