FTC Set to Rule on $60 Billion Exxon-Pioneer Deal in Coming Days

(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Trade Commission is set to decide whether to sue to block Exxon Mobil Corp.’s $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. in coming days, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Exxon complied with the FTC’s second request for information at the beginning of April, triggering a 30-day period within which the antitrust agency must make a decision, said the people who declined to be named because the information is private. The timeline can be extended if regulators and the company agree to continue working on ironing out competition issues.

Exxon Chief Financial Officer Kathy Mikells said last week the company has had “productive” dialog with the FTC and expects to close the deal this quarter. The FTC, Pioneer and Exxon declined to comment for this story.

The Texas oil giant’s acquisition of Pioneer is being closely watched in the US oil and natural gas sector because it’s atop the $230 billion heap of takeovers in the past year. Chevron Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp., Diamondback Energy Inc. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. are among other drillers who’ve received second requests for information from the FTC, which has taken a more aggressive approach to challenging consolidation across corporate America.

In March, more than 50 lawmakers called on the agency to increase scrutiny of oil and gas deals on concern they will increase prices for consumers and suppress wages. The Biden administration has had a testy relationship with the industry and Exxon in recent years, accusing the oil company of making “more money than God” when gasoline prices rocketed in 2022.

Exxon has said the Pioneer takeover will increase energy supply and accelerate climate plans. Combined, the two companies would make up just 15% of output from the Permian Basin. The FTC recently filed lawsuits to block the mergers of supermarket giants Kroger Co. and Albertsons Cos., and handbag rivals Tapestry Inc. and Capri Holdings Ltd.

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