Tuesday, April 03, 2007

FTC moves to block Giant-Western

Although Giant Industries Inc.'s shareholders approved their company's proposed purchase by Western Refining Inc. more than a month ago, members of the Federal Trade Commission are expected next week to vote for blocking the $1.13 billion deal.
According to a government lawyer, the oil refinery deal is scheduled for a Tuesday, April 10, vote by the five-member commission, and it's expected to be the second time this year the commission has formally initiated a legal fight to stop a deal under its review. In March, the FTC voted 4-1 to stop a merger between rival nonresidential natural gas suppliers in Pittsburgh. That deal, Equitable Resources Inc.'s purchase of Peoples Natural Gas Co., a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., is still pending.
It's unclear what specific remedy would satisfy the commissioners and head off their rejection of the merger, although sources following the deal believe any divestiture would affect the merged companies' capacity in the Albuquerque, N.M., market.
all the positive noises the companies have been making about the merger's prospects, there have been procedural disputes with regulators.
The companies' initial Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notifications were apparently incomplete and delayed progress on the antitrust review. Then the FTC issued a second request for more information on the deal Oct. 10, and the agency was initially at loggerheads with the companies over whether the information they provided was sufficient for that request, too. Giant said in late December that it had substantially complied with the FTC's second request. But in a Feb. 28 earnings call, they announced they were still trying to satisfy the agency.

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