Europe Commission stamps Acer's Packard Bell acquisition 'approved'

The European Union governing body says the combination of the two companies would not unfairly stifle competition.

The European Union gave its official blessing to the union of Acer and Packard Bell on Wednesday.

After reviewing the $48.5 million acquisition of Packard Bell by Taiwan-based Acer, the European Commission (the executive branch of the EU) ruled that the two companies as a combined entity would pose no threat to fair competition in the European PC market.

"The Commission's examination showed that the proposed merger would entail horizontal overlaps for desktops and laptops, both for professionals and consumers, at the EEA (European Economic Area) and national levels," the ruling read. "However, the market would remain competitive post-merger in all segments of the PC sector with established alternative suppliers such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba, Sony, and Lenovo."

With that settled, Acer now finally has what it was looking for--a legitimate foothold in the European PC market. The Taiwanese PC maker's decision to bid for Packard Bell last fallwas twofold: to instantly find currency with European PC buyers using Packard Bell's established branding, as well as block rival Lenovo's similar ambitions in Europe.

With Packard Bell and Gateway under its umbrella, Acer is now the third-largest supplier of PCs in the world, according to data collected by IDC.

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