Commission approves proposed acquisition of Aearo by 3M

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Aearo, a US producer of protective equipment, by the US company 3M. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

3M is a US-based diversified technology company active in a number of areas, including safety, security and protection services. Aearo is a producer of personal protective equipment, such as hearing protection and protective eyewear, and also supplies speciality composites, in particular thermal acoustic systems.

The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed merger in the area of personal protective devices, in particular hearing protection devices, where the parties have the most overlapping activities in Europe. Hearing protection devices are earplugs or earmuffs which protect the wearer from outside noise. They are used by workers in a number of industries.

The Commission's investigation into the case revealed that the merged entity would face several competitors who would be able to effectively compete and expand on the market, while customers would continue to be able to source hearing protection products from a number of alternative suppliers. As overlaps in other markets such as head, eye and face protection products were minimal, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not lead to any adverse effects on competition.