Monday, July 27, 2015

Halliburton said facing antitrust hurdles over Baker Hughes acquisition

Halliburton said facing antitrust hurdles over Baker Hughes acquisition: "Halliburton Co.’s takeover of Baker Hughes Inc. is facing resistance from U.S. enforcement officials who are concerned the tie-up could hurt competition, according to a person familiar with the matter. Justice Department lawyers reviewing the proposed $34.6-billion transaction are worried that the oilfield services industry would become too concentrated after a combination of its No. 2 and No. 3 firms, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the review is confidential. Though Halliburton has proposed selling some assets to other companies, government officials aren’t convinced its plan would restore sufficient competition, the person said. Although a final decision hasn’t been made yet, the department’s antitrust division is positioned to carry out a legal challenge if it decides to try to halt the deal, which the companies aim to complete by December. The unit has assigned John Read, a seasoned litigator, to oversee the Halliburton review, according to two people familiar with the staffing decision. Among his successes, Read helped win the division’s antitrust lawsuit against American Express Co. over its merchant rules for credit cards. Antitrust lawyers describe him as a formidable opponent who could bring a merger case to trial."

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