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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced Oregon's intention to oppose the merger between British Petroleum (BP) and ARCO, a California-based oil company, on the terms currently negotiated by the companies.
BP announced April 1, 1999 its intention to purchase ARCO for $26.8 billion. Since then, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Oregon, Washington and California have been involved in extensive investigations and negotiations trying to reach a settlement with the companies as to merger terms. "The current form of the merger does not adequately address antitrust issues we have raised with both companies," Myers said. "With this merger, BP and ARCO would control a significant amount of the crude oil shipped to Washington and California refineries. Oregon depends on these refineries for nearly all of its supply of gasoline."
"We are concerned about the merger's effect on fair competition at the refinery level - meaning, ultimately, its short term and long term effect on gasoline prices for consumers," Myers said.
Attorney General Christine Gregoire of Washington also announced today her intent to oppose the merger, and the two states will file a joint lawsuit challenging it. The FTC today voted to oppose the merger and, according to FTC sources, will file its separate lawsuit.
Myers will announce details of Oregon's concerns the day the states' lawsuit is filed.
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