NEWTON, Iowa — Two Iowa Democrats, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, have asked the Justice Department to block the buyout of Maytag Corp. by Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool.
The proposed acquisition could boost Whirlpool's market share to more than 70% in certain product lines, their letter to assistant attorney general for antitrust Thomas Barnett notes, putting the company "in a position to create real difficulties for competitors."
If approved, the buyout should at least contain provisions for Whirlpool to divest Maytag's washer and dryer manufacturing operations, the letter adds.
Whirlpool officials have issued no comment on the letter so far.
Maytag stockholders approved the proposed merger late last month, and the two companies agreed not to close the deal before Feb. 27 without Justice Department concurrence.
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