Dow, DuPont merger wins U.S. antitrust approval with conditions

Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:13pm EDT
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By Diane Bartz

(Reuters) - DuPont (DD.N: Quote) and Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N: Quote) have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge on condition that the companies sell certain crop protection products and other assets, according to a court filing on Thursday.

The asset sales required by U.S. antitrust enforcers were similar to what the companies had agreed to give up in a deal they struck with European regulators in March. The deal is one of several big mergers by farm suppliers, and the antitrust approval was quickly denounced by the head of the National Farmers Union, saying that farmers would face higher costs.

The Justice Department said the asset sales would prevent price hikes or lost innovation.

Dow and DuPont announced the deal in December 2015 in what was billed as an all-stock merger valued at $130 billion.

According to the filing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the assets to be sold include DuPont's Finesse herbicide for winter wheat and Rynaxypyr insecticides, which the Justice Department said had U.S. annual sales of more than $100 million.

In addition, Dow will sell its U.S. acid copolymers and ionomers business. The products are used to make food packaging and other goods.

The president of the National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson called the antitrust approval "deeply disappointing."

"Clearly, the Trump administration is content allowing our country’s consolidation complex to continue," Johnson said in a statement. "The combination of Dow and DuPont, coupled with other pending mergers, ... drives up costs for farmers’ inputs, and it reduces the incentive for the remaining agricultural input giants to compete."   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: The Dow logo is seen on a building in downtown Midland, Michigan, May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo