On March 4, 2008, the DOJ reached a settlement that will require Cookson Group plc and Foseco plc to divest Foseco’s U.S. carbon bonded ceramic (“CBC”) business in order to proceed with Cookson’s proposed $1 billion acquisition of Foseco. Allegedly, the transaction, as originally proposed, would substantially lessen competition in the United States for certain CBCs used in the continuous casting steelmaking process, resulting in increased prices and reduced service and innovation.
According to the Antitrust Division, Cookson and Foseco are two of only three competitors that produce CBCs in North America. CBCs are products made of carbon-bonded alumina graphite that control the flow of molten steel during the continuous casting of steel.
The remedy contained in the proposed settlement is consistent with that obtained as a result of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission that also was announced on the same date.
The investigation of Cookson’s acquisition of Foseco is an example of the close cooperation between the Antitrust Division and the EC in conducing investigations, obtaining settlement agreements, and closing investigations simultaneously.