FTC Approves Final Order Preserving Competition In North America for Heavy Vehicle Tie Rods

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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that the $12.4 billion merger of two of the world’s largest auto parts suppliers, ZF Friedrichshafen AG and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., would likely harm competition in the market for heavy vehicle tie rods, which are rigid connectors that link a vehicle’s wheels with the steering control mechanism.

Under the order, first announced in May 2015, the combined company is required to divest TRW’s North American and European linkage and suspension business for heavy and light vehicles (which includes heavy vehicle tie rods). The business includes five manufacturing plants in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Germany, and leased space in a research and development lab in Germany. At the divestiture buyer’s request, ZF must provide transition services for logistical and administrative support as well as transitional supply agreements for key manufacturing inputs needed to fulfill existing customer contracts.

The Commission vote approving the final order was 4-1, with Commissioner Joshua D. Wright voting no. (FTC File No. 1410235; the staff contact is Stephen Antonio, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2536)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Room CC-5422, Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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