Alaska Wins Say in BP Amoco-ARCO Merger
Shares of BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) rose last
Friday following press reports that the companies agreed to sell
off all of ARCO's Alaskan assets to avoid going to court with the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over their proposed merger.
BP Amoco closed up 75 cents Friday at $44.38, and ARCO leapt
$3.69 to $68 a share. Neither company would comment on the rumor or
negotiations with the FTC. An FTC spokesman declined to comment,
and a spokesman from Alaska Governor Tony Knowles' office said he
could not confirm reports of the asset sale agreement.
"The State of Alaska has been closely involved in this matter
since the proposed merger was first announced last April. We
continue to as we always have to seek a negotiated settlement,
rather than leave the matter up to litigation," said Knowles
spokesman Bob King.
Last week Knowles sent Alaska Attorney General Bruce Botelho to
San Francisco to meet with parties involved in the case. He
obtained a court ruling allowing Alaska to intervene in the case in
favor of the merger. The FTC had opposed the state's intervention.
Alaska now has the right to call witnesses and present evidence in
the case. Washington, Oregon and California remain opposed to the
merger for fear that it would increase gasoline prices.
Earlier this month the FTC voted to block the deal and said the
merger could lead to higher prices for Alaskan oil. The FTC is
seeking a preliminary injunction to block the deal. The case goes
to federal court in San Francisco March 20.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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