FTC challenges AspenTech’s acquisition of Hyprotech

Cambridge, MA—Aspen Technology Inc. reported Aug. 7 that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed an administrative complaint challenging its May 2002 acquisition of Hyprotech Ltd.

By Control Engineering Staff August 21, 2003

Cambridge, MA— Aspen Technology Inc. ch supplied modeling software for chemical manufacturers.

The acquisition reportedly didn’t require pre-merger review by the FTC under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. However, 15 months ago, the FTC launched an investigation into the acquisition, with which AspenTech states it has fully cooperated. AspenTech adds that it has vigorously defended its position and continues to maintain that its acquisition does not lessen competition.

”We don’t agree with the FTC’s assertions, On the contrary, we’re confident that this acquisition has brought significant benefits to our customers, and is not anti-competitive,” says David McQuillin, AspenTech’s president and CEO. ”Over the past year we’ve worked closely with our customers to develop new innovations that would have been impossible prior to the merger. We will continue to bring these new innovations to market and fulfill our customers’ expectations promised by the merger. We believe a vigorous defense against the allegations of the complaint is in the best interests of our customers and our shareholders and that is what we intend to do.”

Initiation of these proceedings formalizes the FTC’s decision that there are sufficient reasons to warrant a trial before an administrative law judge who will hear arguments from both sides. It does not constitute a ruling that AspenTech’s acquisition of Hyprotech was unlawful. The final outcome of the administrative and judicial process is not likely to be known for several years.

AspenTech expects that its customers and partners will be unaffected by the administrative challenge, and that its engineering product development plans, customer support and strategy will be unchanged. The firm says its customers will continue to benefit from the increased innovation, new products and features they have come to expect from AspenTech. As a result of this new development AspenTech expects to record a $6 million legal accrual in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003 to cover the estimated cost of all remaining legal expenses in connection with this matter.

Control Engineering Daily News DeskJim Montague, news editorjmontague@reedbusiness.com