China okays Merck KGaA’s takeover of AZ Electronic

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BEIJING – China’s commerce has approved with conditions German liquid crystal maker Merck KGaA’s planned $2.6 billion takeover of -listed AZ Electronic Materials.

Merck, the world’s largest maker of liquid crystals used in TVs and tablet and smartphone screens, agreed in December to buy peer AZ for $2.6 billion to expand its range of specialist chemicals for hi-tech gadgets.

The conditions include Merck having to report to the any licensing deals it signs in China, and also prohibit Merck from forcing customers to buy products from both companies, the said Wednesday in a statement its website.

Merck had said April 18 that it had extended the offer period for the deal for a sixth time while it sought approval.

The new offer period is now 1200 GMT May 2.

China is becoming increasingly influential in approving foreign takeover deals, as its fast-growing economy becomes an ever more important marketplace. It played a central role, for example, in the approval of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s handset .

AZ Electronic, which was originally part of German chemical Hoechst AG, generates the bulk of its in Asia.

Merck said on Wednesday it would update the on Friday on its acquisition.

“We are very pleased that constructive negotiations with MofCom (China’s of commerce) have led to a clearance of planned acquisition of AZ Electronic Materials. We thoroughly the decision and update the as planned on May 2, 2014,” Merck said. (Reuters)