Oerlikon-Buhrle Holding AG has requested Federal Trade Commission approval to divest its turbomolecular pump business by means of an initial public offering of stock in a wholly-owned Oerlikon-Buhrle subsidiary that operates the business. The application will be subject to an initial public comment period of 30 days, until Feb. 1.
Oerlikon-Buhrle is based in Zurich, Switzerland. Prior FTC approval of the divestiture is required under a 1995 Commission consent order that resulted from the FTC's challenge of Oerlikon-Buhrle's acquisition of Leybold AG. The 1995 order settled charges that the acquisition would violate federal antitrust laws, and could raise prices and reduce innovation in the markets for two products -- CD metallizers, machines used to manufacture compact discs; and turbomolecular pumps, used in the manufacturing of semiconductors. Prior to the acquisition, Oerlikon-Buhrle, through its subsidiary, Balzers- Pfeiffer GmbH, manufactured turbomolecular pumps in competition with Leybold AG. Among other things, the consent order requires Oerlikon-Buhrle to divest assets relating to the turbomolecular pump business of Balzers-Pfeiffer so as to restore competition lost in that market.
In its application for approval of this divestiture, Oerlikon-Buhrle requested confidential treatment for details of the proposed initial public offering, to comply with U.S. securities laws and applicable rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additional information about the proposed divestiture will be disclosed in a subsequent news release as soon as it can be released consistent with securities law. The Commission will solicit additional public comment at that time.
Comments on the application at this time should be address to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Copies of the public version of the application will be available at the onset of the second comment period from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202- 326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Docket No. C-3555)