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A federal judge has blocked glassmaker Libbey Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Anchor Hocking Co., a victory for antitrust regulators who objected to the $277 million deal. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington, D.C., on Monday granted the Federal Trade Commission’s petition for an injunction. The FTC sued to block the deal, arguing the acquisition would allow Libbey to raise prices for glassware sold to restaurants. Libbey executives had hoped the Anchor Hocking purchase would clear antitrust review several weeks ago because financing for the deal expires April 30. After a trial Feb. 25, Walton said he understood the time constraints Libbey faced and would try to decide the case before the end of March. Libbey, of Toledo, Ohio, now must defend the purchase in front of an administrative law judge, a process that could take months. Libbey chairman and chief executive officer John Meier said, “We have begun study of and consideration of all of our alternatives in order to determine our course of action.” In June, Newell Rubbermaid Inc. of Freeport, Ill., agreed to sell its Anchor Hocking Glass business to Libbey for cash. Anchor Hocking, a maker of glassware, bakeware and specialty glass items, operates manufacturing plants in Lancaster, Ohio, and Monaca, Pa. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing April 1, Libbey noted that it would be forced to write off $11 million to $12 million in acquisition costs if it could not close the deal. Copyright (c)2002 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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