On 24 April, the European Commission (“EC”) unconditionally approved Lear’s acquisition of IGB following a Phase I investigation.
IGB is a global leader in seat climate control, inter alia offering heat mats, ventilation systems and active cooling systems for car seats. Lear is a leading supplier of just-in-time assembly of car seats. Moreover, since its recent acquisition of Kongsberg’s interior comfort systems business unit (“the Kongsberg ICS acquisition”), Lear supplies seat comfort components such as heat mats and ventilation systems as well as lumbar support and massage systems. Given the Parties’ high combined market share for heat mats at the EEA level, potential adverse unilateral horizontal and vertical effects on competition from the proposed Transaction were at the centre of the EC’s investigation.
Having already assisted Lear in the context of the Kongsberg ICS acquisition, RBB advised Lear throughout the proceedings and pre-notification phase on the horizontal and vertical aspects of the IGB acquisition. In this context, RBB also provided a standalone economic report that assessed the potential for unilateral horizontal effects in relation to heat mats. The report concluded that such effects would be unlikely given the commoditised nature of the product, the bidding nature of the market and countervailing buyer power of heat mat customers (automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers), which was largely confirmed by the EC’s market investigation.
The case is discussed in this EC press release.
RBB worked alongside law firms Noerr and Luther.