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EU Formally Closes Its Rio Tinto, BHP Investigation

The European Commission said it formally closed its antitrust investigation into the aborted iro-ore joint venture between Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd.

The commission “has closed an investigation into the proposed iron ore production joint venture between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto after the companies confirmed they had abandoned the plans,” the European Union regulator said in an e-mailed statement today.

BHP and Rio in October scrapped their joint venture, which aimed to save $10 billion in costs, after regulators sought changes, including assets sales, which were unacceptable to both companies.

A preliminary EU probe into the deal showed it may have led to “anticompetitive effects on the worldwide market for seaborne iron ore,” said the commission, the 27-nation EU’s antitrust agency.

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