Ball Offers Concessions in EU Antitrust Review of Rexam Deal

  • EU sets Jan. 22 deadline for probe of food & drink-cans tie-up
  • EU, Ball don't give details of antirust concessions offer

Ball Corp. offered antitrust commitments to European Union merger watchdogs probing its bid for Rexam Plc in an attempt to allay concerns over the deal to create the world’s biggest maker of food and beverage cans.

The European Commission extended its deadline to rule on the deal until Jan. 22, it said in a filing on its website, without giving further details. Companies often sell overlapping units to eliminate EU concerns that a deal might make the merged business too powerful.

Ball also declined to disclose what it had offered “due to the sensitive nature of the discussions,” said Renee Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Broomfield, Colorado-based company. Ball is confident that it will close the deal in the first half of 2016, she said in an e-mail.

Ball vowed in October to address EU concerns over the deal after regulators warned it could increase the prices of aluminum cans and bottles, giving Ball and Rexam about two-thirds of production plants located in Europe. The EU said in July it planned to examine the importance of having production facilities across Europe and whether new rivals were likely to emerge.

Ball agreed in February to buy Rexam for about 4.4 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) in cash and stock. The tie-up is the biggest takeover in metal and glass packaging, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Both Ball and London-based Rexam supply beverage containers to Coca-Cola Co. and brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV. The combined company will have about 22,500 employees and $15 billion in sales, and create $300 million in annual cost savings, according to Ball.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE