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Electrolux To Fight Justice Department Antitrust Lawsuit

Tasnim Shamma

Electrolux plans to fight a U.S. Justice Department antitrust lawsuit aimed at preventing its acquisition of General Electric's appliance business. The company with a North American headquarters in Charlotte says the $3.3 billion deal will not harm competition.

Electrolux argues this deal won't raise prices in your kitchen anymore than another huge deal raised prices in your laundry room.

An attorney representing Electrolux, Joe Sims, says when Whirlpool wanted to buy Maytag in 2006, "the antitrust division staff recommended a challenge to that transaction with essentially the same arguments in the laundry sector as they have in this complaint in the cooking sector."

But Justice Department leaders overruled their staff and OK'd the deal. Sims said on a conference call Wednesday that challenging Electrolux's acquisition is wholly inconsistent with that precedent.

Regulators in several other countries have already approved Electrolux's purchase of GE appliances. The company says it's willing to negotiate with the U.S. Justice Department. But if it can't reach an agreement, Electrolux will vigorously contest the lawsuit.