Gianni De Stefano from the Brussels office of Hogan Lovells International LLP and Pierre Loaec, policy officer at the European Commission (DG Energy) discuss the Commission’s antitrust investigation into the acquisition of the thermal power, renewable power and grid businesses of French multinational Alstom by the US-based General Electric (GE).
In April 2014, GE made the offer to acquire Alstom’s energy-related businesses in a deal valued at more than €12 billion. The deal generated considerable interest and triggered multiple merger control and foreign investment filings worldwide. In 2015, the Commission launched an in-depth investigation to assess whether the acquisition was in line with the EU Merger Regulation, particularly due to concerns regarding competition in the market for heavy-duty gas turbines, which are largely used in gas-fired power plants. In a market characterised by significant technological and financial barriers to entry and, as GE is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy-duty gas turbines worldwide, the merger with Alstom would eliminate one of the three main global competitors to GE in an already concentrated market potentially limiting consumer choice, raising prices, and lessening innovation in the sector.
In this podcast, Gianni De Stefano and Pierre Loaec detail the history of the case, review the outcome of the investigation in September 2015 and consider the impact it had on the energy sector.