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US: Trial begins as DOJ opposes $3.3B Electrolux-GE appliance deal

 |  November 10, 2015

The Justice Department jousted with Electrolux AB and General Electric Co. on Monday during the first day of an antitrust trial that will determine whether the companies can proceed with a deal that could remake the US appliance market.

The government is challenging Electrolux’s proposed $3.3 billion deal to buy GE’s appliance business, arguing the transaction would diminish competition and spark higher prices for cooking appliances.

In his opening statement, Justice Department lawyer Ethan Glass said competition between GE and Electrolux has benefited appliance consumers for a generation. If the acquisition isn’t stopped, Electrolux will sell two out of every three ranges sold in the U.S. and prices could rise by 5% or more, he said.

“That is real money that American consumers will have to pay,” he told U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is presiding over the case.

Mr. Glass said a post-acquisition Electrolux and remaining rival Whirlpool Corp. would make nearly 90% of the ranges sold in the U.S. He offered sharp words for Whirlpool, saying the company has been actively supporting the deal between its two largest rivals and is cooperating with them to get it approved.

Full content: The Wall Street Journal

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