MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) $21.3 billion bid for Switzerland-based Synthes Inc. will enter into a second-phase in-depth probe by the European Union’s antitrust body.
"The proposed acquisition would remove a competitor from some markets which are already concentrated. The commission needs to make sure that effective competition is preserved, in order to maintain innovation and prevent harm to patients," said European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in prepared remarks.
With the extension, the antitrust commission has until March 19, 2012 to make a final decision on the bid, reported the Wall Street Journal. Under the second-phase procedure, it collect fresh evidence from interested parties.
A Synthes spokesperson said that the company expected an EU probe due to the complexities of the deal.
"It [the launch of an in-depth investigation] has no influence on the timing of the transaction and we are working closely with the commission," a spokeswoman said.
Synthes plans to hold a stockholders meeting on Dec. 15 in Switzerland to vote on the proposed merger.
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