Oilfield services provider Halliburton will meet with EU antitrust regulators next week where it is expected to be told about competition worries over its $35 billion bid for Baker Hughes, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday. The European Commission has been reviewing the proposed tie-up of the No. 2 and No. 3 players since Nov. 27 when Halliburton refiled a request for approval after an earlier application was dismissed because it provided insufficient data.
The preliminary scrutiny is scheduled to end on Jan. 12. The so-called state of play meeting is scheduled for late next week. Such events, which usually take place at the end of the third week of the Commission’s preliminary scrutiny, are typically an opportunity for the enforcer to set out potential problems arising from merger deals.
They also ratchet up the pressure on companies to offer concessions or face a lengthy investigation which could last five months or more. Halliburton has already agreed to divest $5.2 billion in overlapping businesses to quell concerns the merger would lead to higher prices and less innovation. It is prepared to sell businesses with total revenues of $7.5 billion.
Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso and Baker Hughes spokeswoman Erica Shillings Bundick declined to comment. Halliburton spokeswoman Emily Mir did not immediately reply to an email requesting comment. U.S. antitrust authorities are also looking into the deal which has already been cleared in Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Colombia and Turkey. Decisions from Australia and Brazil are pending.