Nippon Steel Delays Closing of Acquisition of U.S. Steel

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By Staff
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TOKYO (AP) — Nippon Steel said Friday it has postponed the expected closing of its $14.1 billion takeover of U.S. Steel by three months after the U.S. Department of Justice requested more documentation related to the deal.

Tokyo-based Nippon Steel Corp. said the deal, already approved by U.S. Steel’s shareholders, is still expected to go through.

“Nippon Steel will continue to fully cooperate with the examination of the relevant authorities,” it said in a statement.

The sale has drawn opposition from President Joe Biden’s administration on economic and national security grounds, and from former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential candidate in November’s election.

The new timing could push the closing beyond the election, but Nippon Steel denied the delay was related to that.

Initially the deal was supposed to have closed by September. Now it will close by December, meaning it could still close as early as September, according to a company spokesperson, who requested the anonymity customary at Japanese companies.

More than 98% of the Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. shares voted at a special investor meeting in April approved the takeover. Nippon Steel has said it has prepared adequate financing to go through with the deal.

First announced in December last year, the merger of U.S. Steel into Nippon Steel has raised concerns about what that might mean for unionized workers, supply chains and U.S. national security.

The United Steelworkers union has opposed the acquisition.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met Biden last month. But there was no indication the topic came up in the summit.

When Biden visited the Pittsburgh headquarters of United Steelworkers recently, he reiterated his opposition to the Nippon Steel purchase, stressing U.S. Steel “has been an iconic American company for more than a century and it should remain totally American.”

The U.S. steel industry has declined over the decades as global steel production came to be dominated initially by Japan, and more recently by China. Under the deal, U.S. Steel will keep its name and its headquarters in Pittsburgh, where it was founded in 1901.

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