American steelmaking giant sold to foreign company

3 months ago 120

Japan’s Nippon Steel has agreed to buy US Steel in a takeover valued at $14.9 billion

US Steel, a symbol of American industrialization and once the largest corporation on the planet, has agreed to a takeover by Japan’s Nippon Steel in a $14.9 billion deal that lawmakers from both of Washington’s major political parties have vowed to block.

The companies announced the deal on Monday, saying Nippon Steel will pay $55 in cash for each share of US Steel, or around $14.1 billion. The buyer also will assume around $800 million in debt. US Steel said it expects the deal to close in 2024’s second or third quarter, pending shareholder and government approvals.

The purchase price marks a 40% premium to US Steel’s stock price prior to the announcement, and it’s 57% higher than a July takeover offer from domestic rival Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., which was rejected. US Steel plans to keep its headquarters in Pittsburgh when the sale closes, but it will be a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Nippon Steel.

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“The acquisition of US Steel by a foreign company is wrong for workers and wrong for Pennsylvania,” said Senator John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat. “I’m gonna do everything I can to block it.” He called the company’s sale to a foreign buyer “absolutely outrageous,” adding, “Steel is always about security.”

Senator J.D. Vance, a Republican from neighboring Ohio, agreed, saying he would do everything in his power to prevent the takeover from going through. “Today, a critical piece of America’s defense industrial base was auctioned off to foreigners for cash,” he said. “I warned of this outcome months ago and will oppose it in the months ahead.”

Founded by Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Charles Schwab in 1901, US Steel then accounted for about two-thirds of US production of the metal. It had more than 340,000 employees during World War II, playing a key role in America’s defense production dominance.

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The company now ranks only No. 3 among US steelmakers, behind Nucor and Cleveland-Cliffs, and employs about 22,000 workers. It’s dwarfed by overseas rivals, including China Baowu Group, which has about nine times the production of US Steel. Even when combined with US Steel, Nippon Steel would have output of less than 90 million metric tons annually, compared with China Baowu’s 132 million metric tons.

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