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Honeywell still in for GE merger
June 18, 2001: 4:30 p.m. ET

Honeywell board reaffirms commitment to GE's $41B purchase
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The board for Honeywell International Inc. reaffirmed late Monday its full commitment to the pending $41 billion takeover by General Electric Co.

Honeywell's board, which met Monday, expects that GE will do everything possible to secure regulatory approval for the transaction, the company said in a statement. The company provided no further guidance.

Last week's apparent collapse of the General Electric Co. deal to buy Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell (HON: up $1.30 to $40.00, Research, Estimates) left officials scrambling to figure out what happens next.

Executives from GE (GE: Research, Estimates) said they had not ruled out the deal if European regulators drop some of their demands, but said they would walk away rather than make some of the divestures sought by the Europeans.

"We are in a process here that does not look like it will be approved," said Jeffery Immelt, GE's president and the company's next CEO, said at a news conference Saturday at the Paris Air Show. "We are far apart (from the Commission) and fundamentally we are planning our future without Honeywell."

EC Commissioner Mario Monti defended regulators' questions about the deal, and criticized what he termed unwarranted political pressure to OK the deal.

"I deplore attempts to misinform the public and to trigger political intervention," he said at a press conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. "This is entirely out of place in an antitrust case and has no impact on the Commission whatsoever. This is a matter of law and economics, not politics."

While traveling in Europe Friday, President Bush said U.S. officials had talked to European officials about the deal before and during the trip.

"I am concerned that the Europeans have rejected it," he said. "That's all I've got to say on it."

Monti said the deal had not been formally rejected, but that the deal as proposed would have resulted in less competition in the aircraft engine and aerospace sectors and in higher prices for customers in the medium term.

A document obtained by Reuters confirmed that, revealing the EC wanted GE to share ownership of its giant aircraft leasing arm, GE Capital Aviation Services, with jet engine rivals Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce PLC.

Monti also denied that aircraft makers Boeing Co. (BA: Research, Estimates) or its European rival Airbus Industrie had sought to block the deal.

Harry Stonecipher, Boeing's vice chairman, had said over the weekend that Airbus had sought to block the deal, prompting an angry denial from Airbus chief Noel Forgeard.

Stonecipher changed his view Monday, saying he believed Forgeard's statement. He also said he was still hopeful the GE-Honeywell deal could still be approved.

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"The good news is that we (Boeing and Airbus) both think GE-Honeywell is a positive," Stonecipher said at the air show. "It may well be as a result the process will run its course, and on July 12 we will find the merger is approved and can go forward."

The chairman of Rolls-Royce PLC called Sunday for a level playing field in the aerospace market, but said it had not urged European competition regulators to impose any specific conditions on proposed GE-Honeywell deal.

"We have put forward no suggestions on how they (the Commission and GE) could get out of that situation," Ralph Robins told reporters during the Paris air show.

Pratt & Whitney President Louis Chenevert refused to comment on the GE-Honeywell deal Sunday. His business is a unit of United Technologies (UTX: Research, Estimates), which had its bid for Honeywell trumped by GE last fall. graphic

From staff and wire reports


GE-Honeywell merger over? - Jun. 15, 2001

GE, Honeywell say EU unlikely to accept merger proposal - Jun. 14, 2001

GE CEO Welch met twice with Euro regulators - Jun. 13, 2001

GE to spin off aircraft arm? - Jun. 8, 2001

GE mulls selling jet engine business - Jun. 5, 2001

GE sets $45B Honeywell deal - Oct. 22, 2000




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