European Commission approves merger between Konica and Minolta
Monday, July 14, 2003
July 14, 2003 -- The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Minolta by Konica, two Japanese manufacturers of cameras, photocopiers and other imaging products. The Commission had concerns that the deal might create a dominant position in the market for photometers, which are devices used by professional photographers to measure light exposure. But Konica offered to divest its approximately 40% stake in Sekonic, a Japanese manufacturer of photometers, which removes the competition concerns. Both Konica and Minolta develop and manufacture imaging products and equipment, including cameras, photocopiers and photometers. Konica's main business in the latter field consists in its shareholding in Japanese firm Sekonic. The deal was notified to the European Commission, at the end of May, for regulatory approval under the Merger Regulation because both companies do significant business in the European Union. The Commission's investigation has shown that the activities of Konica and Minolta are largely complementary although they overlap in several product markets, namely photocopiers, compact cameras, digital cameras and photometer activities. In the market for photocopiers and cameras, there are no competition concerns since the merged entity will still lag behind market leaders Ricoh and Canon (photocopiers) and Olympus (cameras). The only competition concerns resided on the market for photometers, where the merged entity would have gained a dominant position and would have been able to act independently from consumers and competitors. But such concerns were eliminated by Konica's offer to divest its shareholding in Sekonic. The Commission investigated this merger in close co-operation with the US Department of Justice.