DOJ Says Whirlpool/Maytag Merger Won't Reduce Competition
Mar 29, 2006
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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today cleared Whirlpool Corporation's takeover of Maytag Corporation. This was the first large-scale merger decision to be approved under the new head of the Antitrust Division, Thomas O. Barnett.

In a statement this afternoon, the Antitrust Division said it believes the merger is not likely to reduce competition substantially. "The combination of strong rival suppliers with the ability to expand sales significantly and large cost savings and other efficiencies that Whirlpool appears likely to achieve indicates that this transaction is not likely to harm consumer welfare," the DOJ statement said.

Of special concern to the DOJ 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 was sold off.

In fact, the DOJ confirmed today that it did make residential laundry appliances a focus of its investigation. Based on the evidence obtained during the investigation, the DOJ said, "the Division found that this merger is not likely to give the merged entity market power in the sale of any of its products in the United States." Despite the combined companies' large share of the U.S. laundry appliances market, the DOJ believes that "any attempt to raise prices likely would be unsuccessful."

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