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Hotel and rental company Cendant Corp. has offered concessions in a move to secure early European Union regulatory approval for its $2.9 billion acquisition of travel reservation system Galileo International Inc. The offer triggers an extension of the EU’s preliminary review of the deal, set to expire Sept. 11, until Sept. 24. By that deadline, the European Commission, the EU’s executive agency which is also responsible for reviewing mergers, must assess the offer by consulting with market players. While concessions during a preliminary investigation are generally considered a positive sign — as an attempt to clear EU competition concerns early on — if the offer fails to pass muster, the Commission can launch an in-depth regulatory investigation that would prolong the EU’s antitrust review by four months. As the acquiring company, Cendant is filing the EU’s regulatory notification and has retained law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in New York. A press official in the New York-based company’s offices was unable to confirm the offer, which was made late Monday, the deadline for the company to make concessions in the EU’s preliminary investigation. “We have no knowledge of any extension,” he said. Repeating statements made at Galileo’s shareholders meeting last week, he added, “We expect the transaction to close in the third quarter.” The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in late July it was taking another look at the deal after initially waving through the Rosemont, Ill.-based Galileo purchase. That surprise came in tandem with news in Europe that the Commission had declared Cendant’s first notification incomplete and required further information on Cendant’s European car rental operations, which includes Avis Group Holding. Sources would not detail the concessions under offer, and it’s unclear whether they might involve Cendant’s rental-car business Avis.

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