AB Electrolux is not in talks with the U.S. Department of Justice for a settlement over its bid to buy General Electric Company's (GE) appliance business and is ready to go to trial, a lawyer for the Swedish appliance maker said, according to Reuters. The DoJ’s antitrust agency has asked a federal court to the stop the $3.3 billion deal because it believes the merger may violate U.S. antitrust law.
According to the agency, Electrolux, GE and Whirlpool manufacture 90 percent of the stoves and ovens sold to big builders and property managers in the U.S., and that the deal would help Electrolux and GE monopolize this market. However, Electrolux and GE are expected to argue that companies like Samsung and LG Electronics are also competing for market share in the U.S. The trial is set to begin Monday.
"There are no settlement talks under way. There is no additional settlement being considered," Joe Sims, a lawyer for Electrolux said, according to Reuters, adding: "I don't think there's any realistic possibility that there will be a settlement."
GE, which has decided to focus on industrial locomotives and jets, agreed to the sale last September.
According to Sims, a partner at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, D.C., senior executives from Electrolux and GE, and officials from retailers and homebuilders, would testify as witnesses in the case, Reuters reported.
“I’m convinced the only proposal, the only remedy, the government would find acceptable would be for Electrolux to essentially divest itself of its entire business in the United States,” Sims said, according to Bloomberg, adding: “That obviously would not be a solution that would preserve the value of the transaction.”
The deal, if approved by regulators, would help Electrolux own big-name GE brands, Bloomberg reported. Despite the hurdles, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said, in October, that the sale was expected to be closed in the fourth quarter.