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Brussels suspends investigation of potential OMV-MOL merger

The European Commission said Monday it suspended an investigation of a planned takeover of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL by Austrian peer OMV because an interested party failed to meet a request to provide information on time.

Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said the investigation will continue when the required information is submitted by the interested party whom he declined to name. As a result, the original July 22 deadline for completing the investigation will be pushed back by several weeks, he said. Press reports blamed OMV for failing to submit some necessary information. Though OMV has made no formal buyout offer for MOL, the company requested Brussels investigate a potential merger and the Commission started the procedure in March.

The Commission also said Monday it is close to finishing an investigation to determine whether recently passed Hungarian legislation that gives strategic companies special powers to fend off hostile takeovers is in line with EU rules. The legislation was drawn up specifically to give MOL ammunition against OMV’s unwanted advances. Todd declined on Monday to confirm speculation this investigation will end during the week. MOL did not wish to comment on the suspension of the investigation when asked by MTI. The company said it has so far fulfilled the EU’s requests to provide information for the purposes of the investigation. (MTI-Econews)