Breaking News: Whirlpool-Maytag merger approved by Justice Department

BREAKING NEWS: Whirlpool-Maytag merger approved by Justice Department
 
Date March 29, 2006
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By MARK SHERMAN

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — Antitrust regulators on Wednesday approved Whirlpool Corp.’s proposed $1.79 billion purchase of Maytag Corp., saying the merger would not reduce competition substantially.

The existence of strong rivals and the cost savings the new company would generate indicate “this transaction is not likely to harm consumer welfare,” the Justice Department said.

An investigation by the department’s Antitrust Division found that an effort by the new company to raise prices on its washers and dryers “likely would be unsuccessful” because at least five other companies are well-established in U.S. markets.

The companies had agreed not to close the transaction before Thursday.

Some analysts and antitrust lawyers had expected the Justice Department to object to the deal. The merger would create a company producing half of the dishwashers in the United States and more than 70 percent of the clothes washers and dryers.

Such a rise in market concentration has typically drawn a challenge from the government.

Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., is the largest appliance manufacturer in the United States.

Maytag, based in Newton, Iowa, is number three, behind GE Consumer products.

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