The Deal: Louisiana-Pacific Bides Time in Ainsworth Acquisition

NEW YORK (TheStreet) ¿¿ Nashville-based Louisiana-Pacific (LPX) is believed to have pulled and refiled its antitrust notification with the U.S. Department of Justice in order to stave off an extended investigation of the company's $1.1B acquisition of Canadian lumber rival Ainsworth Lumber.

The main concern of regulators appears to be possible harm to home builders in the U.S. Pacific Northwest to whom the companies are major suppliers of structural panels used in residential construction. The companies filed pre-merger notification with U.S. officials on September 17 and the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act was to have expired on October 17, absent a second request extending the review.

The companies have not said whether deal was cleared or received a second request and a spokeswoman said Wednesday an update will be provided when the company holds its 3rd quarter earnings call on Nov. 5.

Ainsworth shares have been trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange as if little antitrust risk is expected. Through late afternoon trading Wednesday they stood at C$3.99. The cash and stock deal was valued at C$3.76 when it was announced Sept. 4.

But analysts following the deal said the company wouldn't likely remain close-mouthed if it had a clearer picture of the antitrust situation.

Although Louisiana-Pacific CEO Curtis Stevens said he believed regulators could be convinced that no antitrust conditions are necessary when he spoke with analysts after the offer was announced, the companies did address the possibility that divestitures would be required in their merger agreement.

Under their agreement, the buyer would be required to spin off either Ainsworth's 100 Mile Mill or Louisiana-Pacific's Dawson Creek plant. Both facilities are located in British Columbia.

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