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Danaher ordered to offload assets for GE biopharma unit acquisition

Logos of Danaher (left) and General Electric
Logos of Danaher (left) and General Electric
Ahead of Danaher’s acquisition of General Electric’s biopharmaceutical unit for $21.4 billion, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday ordered either of the two firms to divest certain assets in its conditional approval.

The latest decision, according to the antitrust watchdog, is meant to thwart monopoly in Korea’s bioprocessing market.

The order forces either Danaher or GE’s biopharma unit to sell off the entire eight bioprocessing product assets in Korea -- including chromatography hardware and resins, molecular characterization business and microcarriers -- within six months after the deal closes. The FTC did not find competition constraints in 24 other products.

Otherwise, the acquisition has a potential of restricting competition in the bioprocessing industry -- an industry that manufactures biopharmaceutical drugs -- the FTC said in a statement, as the barrier for new players in the industry and lack of alternatives to their products might result in price hikes.

“The order marks the first corrective order in Korea in the bioprocessing market, and is meant to address monopoly woes and protect Korea’s domestic bioprocessing industry,” the FTC said, adding its decision came in cooperation with the European Commission.

In December, the EC conditionally approved the deal, on the premise that the two firms agreed to offload five businesses to address worries about competition.

In February last year, US medical equipment maker Danaher proposed taking over GE Healthcare’s biopharma division, in its appetite for acquisitions by adding Pall, Sciex and Beckman Coulter to its life science portfolio. Danaher notified the FTC of the acquisition in May 2019.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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