European court blocks Schneider's proposed purchase of Legrand

Schneider Electric SA's proposed acquisition of Legrand has been blocked by the European Union Commission.

Commission officials ruled against the merger, which would have created one of the largest electrical companies in the world, because of concerns that the newly merged Schneider Legrand would have too dominant a position in the French and Italian markets and particularly for circuit breakers. Schneider is appealing the decision.

The proposed acquisition of Legrand by Schneider SA would have created one of the largest electrical companies in North America and the first to offer a basket of products that would have included wiring devices, lighting controls, circuit breakers, load centers, voice/data products and industrial automation equipment.

Schneider Electric SA is best known in North America through its Square D, Telemecanique, Merlin Gerin and MGE UPS subsidiaries, and its leading positions in many areas of the distribution equipment market and in some parts of the industrial controls market.

Legrand has made a name for itself in North America with its acquisitions of Pass & Seymour, Wiremold, The Watt Stopper, Ortronics, Slater Electric, Caribe GE Wiring Devices, Power Controls Corp., Sierra Electric, Reiker Enterprises and Tomstar Controls.

Schneider Electric said it would appeal the decision to the Court of First Instance of the European Communities in Luxembourg to ensure that all of its rights are recognized.

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