DOJ Investigating Anti-Trust Issues in Superior Sale

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Did the U.S. Department of Justice nix Lycoming's bid to buy the assets of bankrupt Superior Air Parts? Sources in the engine business tell us this may be the case. Several have been contacted by Department of Justice investigators looking into the details of Lycoming's bid to buy Superior, which filed for bankruptcy in early January. Lycoming submitted a bid of $11.5 million through a bankruptcy court, which rejected the offer last week. A second offer from Continental was also rejected. Two engine shops told us that DOJ lawyers contacted them last month inquiring about competitive conditions in the aircraft engine and parts business and one of those investigators mentioned a possible Hart-Scott-Rodino Act probe.

The Hart Act is an anti-trust statute that requires companies to submit their plans on mergers and acquisitions for federal review before the transactions take place. The act requires, among other things, a 30-day waiting period from the time of filing. Lycoming made its offer for Superior within a day or two of the bankruptcy filing. It's not known if they were required to file a Hart notice. The DOJ did not return AVweb's query on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Texas Attorney General has notified Superior and the court that it's conducting its own investigation into "reduced competition" that the sale of Superior to Lycoming or Continental might represent. The AG said the investigation will continue through March.