The Swedish Competition Authority has, following an in-depth investigation, on 3 April 2009 cleared GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of a portfolio of drugs, including i.a. the brand Alvedon, from AstraZeneca.
Alvedon is the leading painkiller brand in Sweden. GlaxoSmithKline controlled already prior to the acquisition Panodil, one of the main competing brands. The transaction was notified by the parties on 22 December 2008.
The Competition Authority carried out an extensive market investigation and retained external expertise to simulate the effects of the combination.
“Although the transaction involved a strong market position in painkillers based on paracetamol, the Competition Authority could eventually conclude that the transaction did not significantly impede the existence or development of effective competition. The Competition Authority’s decision is, of course, satisfactory for the parties but also of principle importance”, says Johan Karlsson, responsible partner for Vinge’s competition team, who acted for AstraZeneca.
“It is one of the few cases where efficiencies made a real difference for the outcome. The decision also shows that the Competition Authority, which it should do, could also take into account future changes in the market place, in this case the liberalization of the pharmaceutical market.”
Vinge advised AstraZeneca. Vinge’s competition team included Johan Karlsson (responsible partner), Mattias Ganslandt (economist), Per Karlsson (counsel), Peter Alstergren (associate) and Carl Johan Sundqvist (associate).