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The Commission has approved a petition from Aventis S.A. (Aventis), the successor company to Hoechst AG and Rhone-Poulenc S.A. (RP) (the respondents), to reopen and modify a final consent order regarding the 1999 merger of the two companies. Under the terms of the Commission order, which became final on January 20, 2000, Aventis was required to reduce to five percent its holdings in Rhodia, a French-based chemical company in which RP held a 67 percent share at the time of the merger. The respondents were given approximately five years to complete their sale of Rhodia shares.

Through its petition, Aventis had requested that the Commission reopen and modify the 2000 final order to: 1) expand the language of Paragraph VI.C., that allows the respondent to exclude from its Rhodia holdings any shares held in escrow to honor the exchangeable notes, to permit the respondent otherwise to place its Rhodia shares in escrow pending divestiture by alternative means; 2) specify the date that is currently established by reference in Paragraph VI.D by which the respondent must reduce its Rhodia holdings; and 3) conform Paragraph VII to the revised Paragraph VI.C. The Commission vote to approve the petition was 4-0, with Chairman Timothy J. Muris not participating. (Docket No. C-3919; staff contact is Jeffery Dahnke, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2111; see press releases dated December 7, 1999; and August 17, August 25, September 28, and November 7, 2001; and September 20, 2002)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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