Justice Dept. won’t question Phelps Dodge acquisition plan | CraigDailyPress.com

Justice Dept. won’t question Phelps Dodge acquisition plan

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The U.S. Justice Department antitrust division signed off on the Phelps Dodge Corp. proposal to acquire two copper rivals.

The Justice Department agreed to cut short the waiting period during which the government could challenge or subject the deal to further review, spokeswoman Jennifer Rose said Friday.

The decision amounts to a tacit approval of the proposed deal.

Phelps Dodge has been engaged in a hostile takeover bid to acquire Englewood, Colo.-based Cyprus Amax Minerals Co. and New York-based Asarco Inc. The deal would merge three of the nation’s four largest copper companies.

On Wednesday, Phelps Dodge sweetened its offer to buy the two. Asarco and Cyprus had spurned two earlier offers and had agreed to push ahead with a planned two-way merger.