The Justice Department's antitrust division yesterday approved Whirlpool's purchase of Maytag, finalizing a $1.7 billion deal that began in mid-2005. Despite the dominant market share the merged home-appliance makers would have, government lawyers concluded that the deal was not likely to reduce competition among other manufacturers such as U.S.-based General Electric and Frigidaire or companies based overseas.
The approval creates one of the largest home-appliance companies in the world. It also removes the last obstacle to Whirlpool's pursuit of the well-known Maytag brand. After initially offering $17 a share for the company last July, Whirlpool raised its offer to $21 a share to secure the deal last August, according to the New York Times. Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, MI, is the largest home appliance maker in the U.S. Maytag, based in Newton, IA, is the third largest.