western refining to close giant acquisition

FTC loses lengthy court battle to prevent the refining merger, plans appeal.

After a long court battle, Western Refining Inc. won approval of its $1.13 billion purchase of Giant Industries Inc. after a U.S. judge denied the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) claim that the merger would increase gasoline prices in New Mexico.

U.S. District Judge James Browning in Albuquerque ruled in favor of the petroleum dealer, refusing to halt the merge. Browning said the FTC didn’t show the deal would eliminate competition in the bulk supply of gasoline and diesel fuel. El Paso, Texas-based Western argued the acquisition would promote competition by providing more products to consumers, according to Bloomberg.com.

The ruling dissolves a temporary restraining order the FTC asked for earlier in the case, allowing the takeover to now be finished.

“Because the FTC has not shown that it will likely be able to demonstrate that the proposed merger will reduce the bulk supply of gasoline to northern New Mexico, the court will not grant the requested preliminary injunction,” Browning said in a 104-page decision, according to Bloomberg.com.

The FTC said it intends to appeal the decision.

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