The European Commission announced Monday that it will conduct an "antitrust probe" into the Cognos (COGN) - IBM (NYSE:IBM) case, although it has not yet formally extended its review beyond the January 29, 2008 deadline. According to the EC, the companies have not met the "criteria for a simplified probe", within the context of the initial filing, therefore prompting Monday's action.
We continue to anticipate very little real interest from the European Commission in this case, although a short review extension (two weeks) is certainly possible given the probe announcement. The EU has encountered very little activity in recent months with respect to U.S.-based mergers of any complexity, and this may signal a somewhat more motivated approach by the regulatory going into the new year.
Nevertheless, this combination does not present any major antitrust issues in Europe and as such should be approved without major delays.
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