The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today cleared Whirlpool's takeover of Maytag.
The U.S. $1.68 billion merger was okayed by the DOJ this afternoon despite the apparent objections of some DOJ attorneys. This was the first large-scale merger decision to be approved under the new head of the Antitrust Division, Thomas O. Barnett.
The combination of Whirlpool Corporation (Benton Harbor, Michigan, U.S.) and Maytag Corporation (Newton, Iowa, U.S.) will create the world's largest appliance company. The approval comes just 1 day before the end of the agreed-upon waiting period—Whirlpool, Maytag and the Antitrust Division of the DOJ agreed earlier that the companies would not close the transaction before March 30, 2006.
Objections at Justice
As APPLIANCE reported on March 17, there had been signs of increased activity by the DOJ legal team investigating the merger of the two appliance companies, including gathering industry opinions about the potential impact of the merger on competition.
Apparently of special concern was the large share of the U.S. laundry appliances market that would be held by the merged corporations. Some industry watchers speculated that the merger would only be approved on the condition that part of the laundry business be sold off. It is apparent now that the merger was approved with no such conditions.
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