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Ardagh progresses Verallia negotiations

, Ardagh Glass Group

Ardagh glass group is closer to acquiring St Gobain’s US Verallia unit for an estimated $1.7bn (€1.2bn) after striking a possible deal with the US trade watchdog.  It could see the acquisition finalised by mid-January, and is poised to be the second-biggest acquisition made by Ardagh.

The deal is being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It sought an injunction to prevent the deal closing, and has claimed the Verallia acquisition by Ardagh would ´hurt consumers nationwide´.

Ardagh had offered to sell four of the newly-acquired glass plants in an effort to appease competition concerns. Ardagh said it has now progressed negotiations with the FTC on a potential settlement of the Commission’s challenge to the proposed acquisition of Verallia North America (VNA). In connection with such negotiations, Ardagh will amend the package of plants it is currently selling. Any such sale will need to be approved by the FTC prior to any settlement being finalised.

To enable Ardagh and the FTC to devote the maximum resources to the settlement process, Ardagh has agreed not to close its acquisition of VNA until either the Commission has approved a settlement or a decision on the merits is reached in the administrative litigation. As a result of this agreement, the lawsuit filed by the FTC in federal district court has been stayed, and the preliminary injunction hearing has been cancelled. The parallel administrative proceeding has not been stayed, and the trial in that matter is scheduled to start on December 19, 2013.

Ardagh plans to conclude the settlement process with the FTC and close the acquisition of VNA before mid-January 2014. Ardagh is currently the third biggest player in the $5bn US glass container industry. The acquisition would make it number two, behind rival Owens-Illinois.

, Ardagh Glass Group

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