Procedural violation: The European Commission imposes a fine for failure to disclose an innovation project in the context of a merger remedy proposal (Merck / Sigma-Aldrich)

Companies provide a great deal of information to competition authorities during the merger review process. On occasion, they may be tempted to hide some things. In this case, Sigma-Aldrich kept an R&D project hidden, in an attempt to avoid having to transfer this project to a third party, as part of a divestiture remedy. The strategy initially appeared to be successful, as the project was not included in the divested business. But the non-disclosure came to light and ultimately resulted in the European Commission imposing a 7.5 million euro fine on Sigma-Aldrich, for having provided incorrect or misleading information. The Commission’s decision was issued in May 2021 but made available to the public at large only in March 2022. It is the third time the Commission fines a company

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Simon Vande Walle, Procedural violation: The European Commission imposes a fine for failure to disclose an innovation project in the context of a merger remedy proposal (Merck / Sigma-Aldrich), 3 May 2021, Concurrences N° 3-2022, Art. N° 108119, pp. 124-127

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