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European Union regulators are pressing ahead with their investigation into General Electric Co.’s $42 billion acquisition of Honeywell International Inc. after the deal gained preliminary approval from the U.S. Department of Justice late Wednesday. Commission spokeswoman for Competition Amelia Torres said Thursday that the Commission learned of the DOJ ruling as part of a bilateral antitrust cooperation agreement. “The Commission has no comment to make on [the DOJ] decision, which it respects,” she added. Torres said that the Commission, the EU’s executive body and merger watchdog, will continue its investigation until July 12, when it must rule on the deal. Brussels regulators were notified of the deal in February, about three months after notification was lodged with their counterparts in Washington. According to one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Commission is still preparing its statement of objections, a document issued during in-depth merger investigations that legally outlines the EU’s concerns about a deal. The statement, which had been slated to be issued this week to Fairfield, Conn.-based GE and Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell, was more likely to be sent early next week, the source said. While DOJ and Commission officials have been cooperating on the investigation, the EU’s investigation, unlike Washington’s, has been looking at more than the companies’ competitive overlap. The companies’ agreement with the DOJ, which still requires a consent decree to be final, is conditional on Honeywell’s divestment of its helicopter engine business and a pledge to allow third-party companies to service some of its aircraft engines. The Commission also is looking at the merger’s horizontal overlap for regional jets and delving into whether the range of products and services the merged company would be able to offer could hurt competition. Copyright (c)2001 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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