* China clears Germany's Merck takeover of AZ with
* Merck must report any licensing deals signed in China
* Merck extends offer period to May 7
(Adds extension of offer period, acceptance level by April 30)
BEIJING, April 30 China's commerce ministry has
approved with conditions German liquid crystal maker Merck
KGaA's planned $2.6 billion takeover of UK-listed AZ
Merck, the world's largest maker of liquid crystals used in
TVs and tablet and smartphone screens, agreed in December to buy
peer AZ to expand its range of specialist chemicals for hi-tech
The conditions include Merck having to report to the
ministry any licensing deals it signs in China, and also
prohibit Merck from forcing Chinese customers to buy products
from both companies, the ministry said on Wednesday in a
statement on its website.
By Wednesday, 63.5 percent of shares in AZ Electronic had
been tendered, according to Merck, which still fell short of the
minimum acceptance level of 75 percent. If it does not reach
that level, the offer will have failed under the current offer
Merck also extended the offer period to May 7 from May 2.
China is becoming increasingly influential in approving
foreign takeover deals, as its fast-growing economy becomes an
ever more important marketplace. It played a central role, for
example, in the approval of Microsoft's purchase of
Nokia's handset business.
AZ Electronic, which was originally part of German chemical
company Hoechst AG, generates the bulk of its revenue in Asia.
Merck said on Wednesday it would update the market on Friday
on its acquisition.
(Reporting by Aileen Wang and Jonathan Standing; Additional
Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach, Frank Siebelt and Maria Sheahan in
Frankfurt; editing by Mark Potter and Keiron Henderson)