Bad news on the BHP Billiton bid for Rio

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have granted early termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) waiting period for BHP Billiton’s proposed acquisition of Rio Tinto and the Antitrust Division of the DoJ has concluded its review without further action. Anything that furhers BHP Billiton in its attempt to take over Rio is very bad news for the industry.

Termination of the applicable HSR waiting period satisfies part of the US merger control pre-condition to BHP Billiton’s proposed offer for Rio Tinto. The offer remains subject to the pre-conditions as disclosed in Appendix I of the announcement on February 6, 2008, including that portion of the US merger control pre-condition referring to certain actions that may be brought by the DoJ or FTC.