The attorney general has filed a civil anti-trust lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in an attempt to block the merger of oil field giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes; which if executed would turn an industry dominated by three companies into a duopoly.
The deal, worth $35 billion when it was first announced in November 2014, would eliminate competition in 23 products or services for U.S. oil exploration and production, both onshore and offshore, the Justice Department said in a statement.
After months of meetings and a series of offers to sell assets, antitrust officials still weren’t persuaded the transaction should go through and regarded them as inadequate.
Deals now facing review includes Anheuser-Busch InBev SA’s planned takeover of SABMiller Plc, and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s deal for Rite Aid Corp., a marriage of the No. 1 and No. 3 pharmacy chains in the U.S. Also in the works are mergers that would turn five of the biggest U.S. health insurers into three.
If the deal collapses due to antitrust concerns, Halliburton must pay Baker Hughes a $3.5 billion breakup fee, according to regulatory filings.
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