The European Commission (EC) has launched an antitrust probe into the merger between Halliburton and Baker Hughes, which are the two largest American companies in the oilfield services industry. Speaking to Anadolu Agency about the probe into the $35 billion merger, Gary Hufbauer, a trade specialist at the U.S.-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, described the investigation as a major development that might have impacts on a global scale. "It is the task of the EC to investigate a merger between two giant companies like Halliburton and Baker Hughes," he added. Stressing that the merger will not lead to a decline in competition in the sector, Hufbauer said that the oilfield services industry is undergoing tough times. According to Hufbauer, several large-scale drilling companies will still continue to compete in the shrinking market after this merger. Hufbauer explained that this merger will gather Halliburton and Baker Hughes under a single roof, as the former one is experienced in global agreements and the latter is good at drilling technologies.
Both the U.S. and EU's market makers will investigate the merger to see whether it will harm global competition in the oilfield services industry. It is expected that the EU and the U.S. will finalize the investigation by May 26 and April 30, respectively. Halliburton was expected to finalize the $35 billion merger by the end of 2015. According to the agreement between the two companies, Halliburton pledges to pay $3.5 billion to Baker Hughes even if market regulatory bodies reject the merger. It is deemed usual for such large-scale mergers to be subjected to investigations by market makers who can prevent mergers if they pose a threat to competition.