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Alaska Cool to BP Amoco, ARCO

November 8, 1999
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Alaska Cool to BP Amoco, ARCO

After Alaska's governor balked at a move by BP Amoco to push consideration of its ARCO acquisition through the Federal Trade Commission, the company has backed off and pledged to address the state's anti-competitive concerns. Discussions between the company and Alaska were ongoing last week.

"Our goal from the very beginning has been to achieve an agreement that is satisfactory to this state and to allow the public participation period in Alaska to run prior to seeking final review and approval of the ARCO acquisition from the FTC," said Anchorage-based BP Amoco spokesman Ronnie Chappell.

Last Monday, Gov. Tony Knowles broke off state negotiations with the company and asked the FTC to temporarily block the $26 billion merger after learning BP Amoco had filed certificates of substantial completion with the commission. The BP Amoco filing started the clock on a 20-day deadline within which the FTC would either have to approve the deal or sue to block it. BP Amoco has since stopped the clock on the 20-day time limit. Even if it's approved by the FTC, Alaska can still sue to block the deal in federal court; however, FTC approval would diminish the state's leverage.

"The BP Amoco acquisition in its present form creates competitive concerns that, left un-addressed, would violate both federal and state antitrust law," Knowles wrote in his letter to FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky. "I urge the Federal Trade Commission to seek to enjoin the acquisition unless BP Amoco lifts the deadline they have instigated. Only with the lifting of the deadline can meaningful negotiations proceed."

Alaska began negotiations with BP Amoco in September to determine whether an agreement on creating a competitive environment is possible. In a September speech in Anchorage, Knowles outlined what the state seeks from BP Amoco. He said competition requires:

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