BASF SE; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders to Aid Public Comment, 16208-16210 [E9-8203]

Download as PDF 16208 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 67 / Thursday, April 9, 2009 / Notices Environmental Cooperation.’’ The NAC is composed of 12 members representing academia, environmental non-governmental organizations, and private industry. The GAC consists of 12 members representing state, local, and Tribal governments. The Committees are responsible for providing advice to the U.S. Representative on a wide range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, and economic issues related to implementation and further elaboration of the NAAEC. The purpose of the meeting is to review elements of the CEC’s draft 2010–2015 Strategic Plan and assist in the development of U.S. priorities for the CEC Council Session in June 2009. The meeting will also include a public comment session. A copy of the agenda will be posted at http://www.epa.gov/ ocem/nacgac-page.htm. DATES: The National and Governmental Advisory Committees will hold an open meeting on Monday, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Tuesday, April 28, from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town Hotel, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone: 703–837–0440. The meeting is open to the public, with limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Oscar Carrillo, Designated Federal Officer, carrillo.oscar@epa.gov, 202– 564–0347, U.S. EPA, Office of Cooperative Environmental Management (1601–M), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460. Requests to make oral comments or provide written comments to the Committees should be sent to Oscar Carrillo, Designated Federal Officer, at the contact information above. Meeting Access: For information on access or services for individuals with disabilities, please contact Oscar Carrillo at 202–564–0347 or carrillo.oscar@epa.gov. To request accommodation of a disability, please contact Oscar Carrillo, preferably at least 10 days prior to the meeting, to give EPA as much time as possible to process your request. dwashington3 on PROD1PC60 with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: March 25, 2009. Oscar Carrillo, Designated Federal Officer. [FR Doc. E9–8108 Filed 4–8–09; 8:45 am] VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:28 Apr 08, 2009 ACTION: Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisition of Shares of Bank or Bank Holding Companies SUMMARY: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 1, 2009. ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments electronically or in paper form. Comments should refer to‘‘BASF SE, File No. 081 0265’’ to facilitate the organization of comments. Please note that your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including on the publicly accessible FTC website, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/ publiccomments.shtm). Because comments will be made public, they should not include any sensitive personal information, such as an individual’s Social Security Number; date of birth; driver’s license number or other state identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; financial account number; or credit or debit card number. Comments also should not include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, comments should not include any ‘‘[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which is obtained from any person and which is privileged or confidential. . . .,’’ as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Commission Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). Comments containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled ‘‘Confidential,’’ and must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c).1 Because paper mail addressed to the FTC is subject to delay due to heightened security screening, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form. Comments filed in electronic form should be submitted by using the following weblink: (https:// The notificants listed below have applied under the Change in Bank Control Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)) and § 225.41 of the Board’s Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.41) to acquire a bank or bank holding company. The factors that are considered in acting on the notices are set forth in paragraph 7 of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(7)). The notices are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The notices also will be available for inspection at the office of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing to the Reserve Bank indicated for that notice or to the offices of the Board of Governors. Comments must be received not later than April 24, 2009. A. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Colette A. Fried, Assistant Vice President) 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690–1414: 1. Bruce J. Essex, Yvonne M. Essex, both of Whitehall, Michigan, and Bruce J. Essex, Jr., North Muskegon, Michigan; to retain voting shares of Community Shores Bank Corporation, and thereby indirectly retain control of Community Shores Bank, both of Muskegon, Michigan. B. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (Glenda Wilson, Community Affairs Officer) P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, Missouri 63166–2034: 1. Terry R. Fuller, Jerry W. Fuller, Mary S. Fuller, and the estate of Ray C. Fuller (co-executors are Terry R. Fuller, Jerry W. Fuller, and Cheryl F. Heuer), all of Poplar Grove, Arkansas, as a group acting in concert; to acquire voting shares of Helena Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire voting shares of Helena National Bank, both of Helena, Arkansas. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, April 6, 2009. Robert deV. Frierson, Deputy Secretary of the Board. [FR Doc. E9–8120 Filed 4–8–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210–01–S FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 081 0265] BASF SE; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders to Aid Public Comment AGENCY: BILLING CODE 6560–50–P Jkt 217001 Proposed Consent Agreement. FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM PO 00000 Federal Trade Commission. Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1 FTC Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c). E:\FR\FM\09APN1.SGM 09APN1 dwashington3 on PROD1PC60 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 67 / Thursday, April 9, 2009 / Notices secure.commentworks.com/ftc-BASF) (and following the instructions on the web-based form). To ensure that the Commission considers an electronic comment, you must file it on the webbased form at the weblink: (https:// secure.commentworks.com/ftc-BASF). If this Notice appears at (http:// www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp), you may also file an electronic comment through that website. The Commission will consider all comments that regulations.gov forwards to it. You may also visit the FTC website at http:// www.ftc.gov to read the Notice and the news release describing it. A comment filed in paper form should include the ‘‘BASF, File No. 081 0265‘‘ reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. The Federal Trade Commission Act (‘‘FTC Act’’) and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives, whether filed in paper or electronic form. Comments received will be available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/ publiccomments.shtm). As a matter of discretion, the Commission makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC website. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC’s privacy policy, at (http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/ privacy.shtm). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wallace W. Easterling, Bureau of Competition, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, (202) 3262936. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and § 2.34 the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:28 Apr 08, 2009 Jkt 217001 filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for February 18, 2009), on the World Wide Web, at (http:// www.ftc.gov/os/2009/04/index.htm). A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222. Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission in either paper or electronic form. All comments should be filed as prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or before the date specified in the DATES section. Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order to Aid Public Comment I. Introduction The Federal Trade Commission (‘‘Commission’’) has accepted, subject to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Orders (‘‘Consent Agreement’’) from BASF SE (‘‘BASF’’ or ‘‘Respondent’’) to remedy the anticompetitive effects stemming from BASF’s proposed acquisition of Ciba Holding Inc. (‘‘Ciba’’). Under the terms of the Consent Agreement, BASF is required to divest to a Commissionapproved buyer certain Ciba assets and intellectual property relating to two of its high performance pigment businesses. The proposed Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days to receive comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will review the Consent Agreement and comments received and decide whether to withdraw from the proposed Consent Agreement, modify it, or make final the Consent Agreement’s proposed Decision and Order. Pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Merger dated September 15, 2008, BASF proposes to purchase all of Ciba’s outstanding stock in a transaction valued at approximately $5.1 billion. The Commission’s complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition, if consummated, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 18, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (‘‘FTC Act’’), as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 45, by lessening PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16209 competition in the world markets for the research, development, manufacture and sale of bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. The Consent Agreement will remedy the alleged violation by divesting certain Ciba assets and intellectual property to a third party thereby replacing the lost competition that would result from the acquisition in these markets. II. The Parties BASF, headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, is the world’s leading chemical company. It manufactures, among other things, chemicals, plastics, agricultural products, fine chemicals and high performance pigments. BASF is a leading supplier of several high performance pigments including bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue. In 2008, BASF’s worldwide sales were approximately $79.5 billion. Ciba, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is a leading supplier of chemicals used to, among other things, provide color performance and care for plastics, coatings, textile, paper, home and personal care products. Ciba is a leading supplier of high performance pigments including bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue. In 2008, Ciba’s worldwide sales were approximately $5.4 billion. III. The Complaint According to the Commission’s Complaint, the relevant lines of commerce in which to analyze the effects of the proposed acquisition are the markets for the research, development, manufacture, and sale of bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. Pigments are small particles that are used to impart color to a wide variety of products including inks, coatings, plastics and fibers. Bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue are high performance pigments. High performance pigments are pigments that offer superior durability and light fastness compared to other pigments such as commodity pigments. As a result, high performance pigments are particularly suited for use in products that are exposed to sunlight and weather, such as automotive coatings. Bismuth vanadate is a high performance pigment that imparts a brilliant yellow coloration with a green tint. Bismuth vanadate is primarily used in applications requiring exposure to high temperatures because of its durability under such conditions. Because no other pigment offers the same combination of unique color and high performance characteristics that bismuth vanadate provides, customers E:\FR\FM\09APN1.SGM 09APN1 dwashington3 on PROD1PC60 with NOTICES 16210 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 67 / Thursday, April 9, 2009 / Notices of bismuth vanadate could not achieve the same colors and performance levels in their products without it. Thus, there are no substitute products that customers of bismuth vanadate could turn to even in the face of a significant price increase. Indanthrone blue is a high performance pigment that imparts a blue coloration with a tinge of red. Because of its durability and light fastness, indanthrone blue is used primarily in automotive coatings. Similar to bismuth vanadate, no other pigment offers the same combination of unique color and high performance characteristics that indanthrone blue provides and customers of indanthrone blue could not achieve the same colors and performance levels in their products without it. Thus, there are no substitute products that customers of indanthrone blue could turn to even if faced with a significant price increase. The Complaint alleges that the relevant geographic market in which to analyze the anticompetitive effects of the proposed acquisition is the world. Transportation costs and technical barriers to worldwide shipment of the relevant products are insignificant. As a result, several pigment suppliers manufacture these products in a single location and ship them worldwide. For example, BASF and Ciba supply the relevant products for their customers worldwide from their production facilities in Europe. The Complaint further alleges that the relevant markets are highly concentrated. In the bismuth vanadate market, the proposed transaction would reduce the number of significant players in that market from four to three and the combined entity would have a market share of approximately 60 percent based on sales. The market for indanthrone blue is also highly concentrated with BASF and Ciba constituting two of only three significant suppliers. In that market, the combined entity’s market share would be approximately 56 percent based on sales. By eliminating competition between BASF and Ciba in the relevant markets, the proposed transaction would allow the combined firm to unilaterally exercise market power, as well as increase the likelihood of coordinated interaction among the remaining suppliers. As a result, the proposed transaction would increase the likelihood that purchasers of bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue would be forced to pay higher prices for these products and that innovation and service in these markets would decline. Entry into either relevant market is not likely and would not be timely or sufficient to deter or counteract the VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:28 Apr 08, 2009 Jkt 217001 anticompetitive effects that would result from the proposed merger. It would take a new entrant well over two years to complete all of the requisite steps for entry, including: researching and developing the pigment technology; building a manufacturing facility; and passing the rigorous qualification testing required to get customer approval. Additionally, new entry into either the bismuth vanadate or indanthrone blue markets is unlikely to occur because the capital investment to become a viable supplier is high relative to the limited sales opportunities available to new entrants. IV. Terms of the Proposed Order The proposed Consent Agreement effectively remedies the proposed merger’s anticompetitive effects in the markets for bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. BASF is required to divest assets used to research, develop, manufacture, and sell those products. The divested assets will permit the acquirer to become a viable competitor in the relevant markets. The assets to be divested include Ciba’s bismuth vanadate production assets which are located in Europe, or provides a mechanism for, at the acquirer’s option, production to be relocated to the acquirer’s production facilities. More specifically, BASF can either: (1) divest the Ciba bismuth vanadate production facility, (2) lease the production facility to the acquirer, or (3) enter into a tolling agreement that provides sufficient time for the acquirer to begin production at its own facilities and to qualify that production with customers. The indanthrone blue production assets will be used to produce that product pursuant to a tolling arrangement at the Ciba facilities until the acquirer of those assets is prepared to shift production to its own facilities. All tangible assets and intellectual property used to produce the relevant products will also be divested. Several credible acquirers have expressed interest in purchasing the assets to be divested. The provisions ordering the two divestitures further include ancillary relief such as supply agreements, protections for confidential information, assistance in hiring of key employees, and the appointment of a monitor to oversee the divestiture process to ensure that the acquirer, or acquirers, of the relevant assets will be able to effectively compete in the research, development, manufacture, and sale of bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. A final Order to Maintain Assets has also been issued. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The proposed Consent Agreement includes a provision that allows the Commission to appoint an interim monitor to ensure that BASF expeditiously complies with all of its obligations and performs all of its responsibilities as required by the Commission’s Decision and Order. If appointed, the interim monitor would be required to file periodic reports with the Commission to ensure that the Commission remains informed about the status of the divestitures and the efforts being made to accomplish the divestitures. Finally, the Consent Agreement contains provisions that allow the Commission to appoint a divestiture trustee to divest the assets that are the subject of the Commission’s Decision and Order if BASF fails to divest the designated assets within six (6) months after the Consent Agreement is accepted by the Commission for Public Comment. To ensure that the Commission remains informed about the status of the proposed divestitures and the transfer of the assets, the proposed Consent Agreement requires BASF to file reports with the Commission periodically until the divestitures and transfers are accomplished. The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed Decision and Order. This analysis is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the Consent Agreement and the proposed Decision and Order. By direction of the Commission. Richard C. Donohue, Acting Secretary. [FR Doc. E9–8203 Filed 4–8–09: 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750–01–S FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [Docket No. 9328] Native Essence Herb Company, et al.; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment Federal Trade Commission. Proposed Consent Agreement. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations. E:\FR\FM\09APN1.SGM 09APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 67 (Thursday, April 9, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16208-16210]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-8203]


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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

[File No. 081 0265]


BASF SE; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders to Aid 
Public Comment

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Proposed Consent Agreement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged 
violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to 
Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and 
the terms of the consent order--embodied in the consent agreement--that 
would settle these allegations.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 1, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments 
electronically or in paper form. Comments should refer to``BASF SE, 
File No. 081 0265'' to facilitate the organization of comments. Please 
note that your comment--including your name and your state--will be 
placed on the public record of this proceeding, including on the 
publicly accessible FTC website, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm).
    Because comments will be made public, they should not include any 
sensitive personal information, such as an individual's Social Security 
Number; date of birth; driver's license number or other state 
identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; 
financial account number; or credit or debit card number. Comments also 
should not include any sensitive health information, such as medical 
records or other individually identifiable health information. In 
addition, comments should not include any ``[t]rade secret or any 
commercial or financial information which is obtained from any person 
and which is privileged or confidential. . . .,'' as provided in 
Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Commission Rule 
4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). Comments containing material for which 
confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must 
be clearly labeled ``Confidential,'' and must comply with FTC Rule 
4.9(c).\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ FTC Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be 
accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, 
including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must 
identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from 
the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the 
Commission's General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the 
public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because paper mail addressed to the FTC is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening, please consider submitting your comments 
in electronic form. Comments filed in electronic form should be 
submitted by using the following weblink: (https://

[[Page 16209]]

secure.commentworks.com/ftc-BASF) (and following the instructions on 
the web-based form). To ensure that the Commission considers an 
electronic comment, you must file it on the web-based form at the 
weblink: (https://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-BASF). If this Notice 
appears at (http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp), you may also 
file an electronic comment through that website. The Commission will 
consider all comments that regulations.gov forwards to it. You may also 
visit the FTC website at http://www.ftc.gov to read the Notice and the 
news release describing it.
    A comment filed in paper form should include the ``BASF, File No. 
081 0265`` reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should 
be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade 
Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135, 600 Pennsylvania 
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any 
comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if 
possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the 
Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.
    The Federal Trade Commission Act (``FTC Act'') and other laws the 
Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to 
consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will 
consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives, 
whether filed in paper or electronic form. Comments received will be 
available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, 
at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm). As a matter of 
discretion, the Commission makes every effort to remove home contact 
information for individuals from the public comments it receives before 
placing those comments on the FTC website. More information, including 
routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's 
privacy policy, at (http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.shtm).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wallace W. Easterling, Bureau of 
Competition, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, (202) 
326-2936.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 6(f) of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Sec.  2.34 the 
Commission Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that 
the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to 
cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final 
approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a 
period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public 
Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the 
allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of 
the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page 
(for February 18, 2009), on the World Wide Web, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/04/index.htm). A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public 
Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, 
D.C. 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.
    Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission 
in either paper or electronic form. All comments should be filed as 
prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or 
before the date specified in the DATES section.

Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order to Aid Public Comment

I. Introduction

    The Federal Trade Commission (``Commission'') has accepted, subject 
to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Orders (``Consent 
Agreement'') from BASF SE (``BASF'' or ``Respondent'') to remedy the 
anticompetitive effects stemming from BASF's proposed acquisition of 
Ciba Holding Inc. (``Ciba''). Under the terms of the Consent Agreement, 
BASF is required to divest to a Commission-approved buyer certain Ciba 
assets and intellectual property relating to two of its high 
performance pigment businesses.
    The proposed Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record 
for thirty (30) days to receive comments by interested persons. 
Comments received during this period will become part of the public 
record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will review the Consent 
Agreement and comments received and decide whether to withdraw from the 
proposed Consent Agreement, modify it, or make final the Consent 
Agreement's proposed Decision and Order.
    Pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Merger dated September 15, 
2008, BASF proposes to purchase all of Ciba's outstanding stock in a 
transaction valued at approximately $5.1 billion. The Commission's 
complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition, if consummated, would 
violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. Sec.  18, 
and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (``FTC Act''), as 
amended, 15 U.S.C. Sec.  45, by lessening competition in the world 
markets for the research, development, manufacture and sale of bismuth 
vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. The Consent Agreement will 
remedy the alleged violation by divesting certain Ciba assets and 
intellectual property to a third party thereby replacing the lost 
competition that would result from the acquisition in these markets.

II. The Parties

    BASF, headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, is the world's 
leading chemical company. It manufactures, among other things, 
chemicals, plastics, agricultural products, fine chemicals and high 
performance pigments. BASF is a leading supplier of several high 
performance pigments including bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue. 
In 2008, BASF's worldwide sales were approximately $79.5 billion.
    Ciba, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is a leading supplier of 
chemicals used to, among other things, provide color performance and 
care for plastics, coatings, textile, paper, home and personal care 
products. Ciba is a leading supplier of high performance pigments 
including bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue. In 2008, Ciba's 
worldwide sales were approximately $5.4 billion.

III. The Complaint

    According to the Commission's Complaint, the relevant lines of 
commerce in which to analyze the effects of the proposed acquisition 
are the markets for the research, development, manufacture, and sale of 
bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. Pigments are small 
particles that are used to impart color to a wide variety of products 
including inks, coatings, plastics and fibers. Bismuth vanadate and 
indanthrone blue are high performance pigments. High performance 
pigments are pigments that offer superior durability and light fastness 
compared to other pigments such as commodity pigments. As a result, 
high performance pigments are particularly suited for use in products 
that are exposed to sunlight and weather, such as automotive coatings.
    Bismuth vanadate is a high performance pigment that imparts a 
brilliant yellow coloration with a green tint. Bismuth vanadate is 
primarily used in applications requiring exposure to high temperatures 
because of its durability under such conditions. Because no other 
pigment offers the same combination of unique color and high 
performance characteristics that bismuth vanadate provides, customers

[[Page 16210]]

of bismuth vanadate could not achieve the same colors and performance 
levels in their products without it. Thus, there are no substitute 
products that customers of bismuth vanadate could turn to even in the 
face of a significant price increase.
    Indanthrone blue is a high performance pigment that imparts a blue 
coloration with a tinge of red. Because of its durability and light 
fastness, indanthrone blue is used primarily in automotive coatings. 
Similar to bismuth vanadate, no other pigment offers the same 
combination of unique color and high performance characteristics that 
indanthrone blue provides and customers of indanthrone blue could not 
achieve the same colors and performance levels in their products 
without it. Thus, there are no substitute products that customers of 
indanthrone blue could turn to even if faced with a significant price 
increase.
    The Complaint alleges that the relevant geographic market in which 
to analyze the anticompetitive effects of the proposed acquisition is 
the world. Transportation costs and technical barriers to worldwide 
shipment of the relevant products are insignificant. As a result, 
several pigment suppliers manufacture these products in a single 
location and ship them worldwide. For example, BASF and Ciba supply the 
relevant products for their customers worldwide from their production 
facilities in Europe.
    The Complaint further alleges that the relevant markets are highly 
concentrated. In the bismuth vanadate market, the proposed transaction 
would reduce the number of significant players in that market from four 
to three and the combined entity would have a market share of 
approximately 60 percent based on sales. The market for indanthrone 
blue is also highly concentrated with BASF and Ciba constituting two of 
only three significant suppliers. In that market, the combined entity's 
market share would be approximately 56 percent based on sales. By 
eliminating competition between BASF and Ciba in the relevant markets, 
the proposed transaction would allow the combined firm to unilaterally 
exercise market power, as well as increase the likelihood of 
coordinated interaction among the remaining suppliers. As a result, the 
proposed transaction would increase the likelihood that purchasers of 
bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue would be forced to pay higher 
prices for these products and that innovation and service in these 
markets would decline.
    Entry into either relevant market is not likely and would not be 
timely or sufficient to deter or counteract the anticompetitive effects 
that would result from the proposed merger. It would take a new entrant 
well over two years to complete all of the requisite steps for entry, 
including: researching and developing the pigment technology; building 
a manufacturing facility; and passing the rigorous qualification 
testing required to get customer approval. Additionally, new entry into 
either the bismuth vanadate or indanthrone blue markets is unlikely to 
occur because the capital investment to become a viable supplier is 
high relative to the limited sales opportunities available to new 
entrants.

IV. Terms of the Proposed Order

    The proposed Consent Agreement effectively remedies the proposed 
merger's anticompetitive effects in the markets for bismuth vanadate 
and indanthrone blue pigments. BASF is required to divest assets used 
to research, develop, manufacture, and sell those products. The 
divested assets will permit the acquirer to become a viable competitor 
in the relevant markets.
    The assets to be divested include Ciba's bismuth vanadate 
production assets which are located in Europe, or provides a mechanism 
for, at the acquirer's option, production to be relocated to the 
acquirer's production facilities. More specifically, BASF can either: 
(1) divest the Ciba bismuth vanadate production facility, (2) lease the 
production facility to the acquirer, or (3) enter into a tolling 
agreement that provides sufficient time for the acquirer to begin 
production at its own facilities and to qualify that production with 
customers. The indanthrone blue production assets will be used to 
produce that product pursuant to a tolling arrangement at the Ciba 
facilities until the acquirer of those assets is prepared to shift 
production to its own facilities. All tangible assets and intellectual 
property used to produce the relevant products will also be divested. 
Several credible acquirers have expressed interest in purchasing the 
assets to be divested.
    The provisions ordering the two divestitures further include 
ancillary relief such as supply agreements, protections for 
confidential information, assistance in hiring of key employees, and 
the appointment of a monitor to oversee the divestiture process to 
ensure that the acquirer, or acquirers, of the relevant assets will be 
able to effectively compete in the research, development, manufacture, 
and sale of bismuth vanadate and indanthrone blue pigments. A final 
Order to Maintain Assets has also been issued.
    The proposed Consent Agreement includes a provision that allows the 
Commission to appoint an interim monitor to ensure that BASF 
expeditiously complies with all of its obligations and performs all of 
its responsibilities as required by the Commission's Decision and 
Order. If appointed, the interim monitor would be required to file 
periodic reports with the Commission to ensure that the Commission 
remains informed about the status of the divestitures and the efforts 
being made to accomplish the divestitures.
    Finally, the Consent Agreement contains provisions that allow the 
Commission to appoint a divestiture trustee to divest the assets that 
are the subject of the Commission's Decision and Order if BASF fails to 
divest the designated assets within six (6) months after the Consent 
Agreement is accepted by the Commission for Public Comment. To ensure 
that the Commission remains informed about the status of the proposed 
divestitures and the transfer of the assets, the proposed Consent 
Agreement requires BASF to file reports with the Commission 
periodically until the divestitures and transfers are accomplished.
    The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the 
proposed Decision and Order. This analysis is not intended to 
constitute an official interpretation of the Consent Agreement and the 
proposed Decision and Order.
    By direction of the Commission.

Richard C. Donohue,
Acting Secretary.
[FR Doc. E9-8203 Filed 4-8-09: 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-S