ACCC delays joint venture review

The ACCC has delayed its review of the proposed Pilbara iron ore joint venture between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Australia’s competition regulator has delayed its review of the proposed Pilbara iron ore joint venture between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, saying it needs more information from both companies.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had been due to report its findings on the US$116 billion joint venture to the market on 24 February.

“ACCC requested further information from the proposed joint venture,” the regulator said on its website.

“Former proposed date for the announcement of the ACCC’s findings of 24 February is delayed.”

While the approval of the competition watchdog is vital for the proposed deal’s future, it has been seen by many in the market as something of a formality after the ACCC gave the go ahead to BHP’s ultimately aborted takeover bid of Rio in 2008.

Given the joint venture currently remains under the scrutiny of the European Commission, it is believed that the current delay may be a matter of political prudence as much as market concern.

The ACCC said a new announcement date would be set once it receives more information from the two miners.

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