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DOJ sues to block Halliburton/Baker Hughes merger

TheU.S. Department of Justice on April 6 filed an antitrust lawsuit seeking tostop HalliburtonCo.'s proposed acquisition of Baker Hughes Inc., saying it "threatens to eliminatecompetition, raise prices and reduce innovation in the oilfield servicesindustry."

"Ouraction makes clear that the Justice Department is committed to vigorouslyenforcing our antitrust laws," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in astatement about the lawsuit, which the DOJ filed in the U.S. District Court forthe District of Delaware. The merger was valued at more than $34 billion whenit was announced inNovember 2014. "In the days ahead, we will continue to stand up for fairdeals and free markets, and for the American people we are privileged to serve."

OnApril 4, the DOJslapped ValueAct Capital with an antitrust lawsuit, charging the SanFrancisco-based fund with buying large positions in the stocks of Halliburtonand Baker Hughes without properly notifying the government that it would be anactive investor. The suit hinted that the merger would not be able to passantitrust review.