Commission Approves Extension of Divestiture Period in Matter of Linde AG, et al.

– The Commission has approved an extension of time under the order it issued concerning Linde AG, et al.’s acquisition of The BOC Group. The FTC’s order in this matter, issued on August 29, 2006, remedied the proposed acquisition’s likely anticompetitive effects in the bulk refined helium market by requiring Linde to divest bulk refined helium assets, including helium source contracts, ancillary distribution assets, and customer contracts, to Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC). Among other things, the order requires Linde to divest a Northern California helium transfill facility to TNSC by September 15, 2008, unless TNSC builds its own helium transfill in Northern California by that date.

The Monitor in this matter, with the consent of Linde and BOC, requested that the Commission extend the September 15, 2008, deadline until December 31, 2008. The Monitor noted that TNSC’s efforts to complete the construction of its new helium transfill in Newark, California, have been delayed by certain regulatory circumstances beyond TNSC’s control and that extending the time until December 31, 2008, should provide TNSC with sufficient time to complete construction. The Commission has now approved the request and extended the divestiture deadline accordingly.

The Commission vote approving the extension of the divestiture time period was 4-0. (FTC Docket No. C-4163; the staff contact is Roberta S. Baruch, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861; see press releases dated July 18, September 5, and December 1, 2006; and March 9, 2007.)

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

(FYI 44.2008.wpd)

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