Brian Deese, pivotal in President Biden's reelection, expresses concern over Nippon Steel's $14.9B acquisition of U.S. Steel. He calls for scrutiny due to unconsulted unions and potential implications. Senators echo concerns, urging national security assessments. While Nippon claims its bid won, looming reviews by CFIUS and antitrust bodies suggest potential hurdles in finalizing the deal.
Brian Deese, a significant figure in President Biden's reelection strategy, voiced apprehension regarding Nippon Steel's $14.9 billion acquisition of U.S. Steel. Deese emphasized the need for thorough examination, citing undisclosed discussions with U.S. Steel's primary union before the deal's announcement as a cause for concern.
The deal, where Nippon outbid major rivals for the 122-year-old U.S. Steel, drew criticism from Democratic and Republican senators. They raised national security apprehensions, pushing for a comprehensive assessment of antitrust implications and potential risks to U.S. interests.
As Nippon solidified its acquisition plans, the White House remained reserved, hinting at regulatory reviews from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and possible antitrust investigations.
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown urged President Biden to explore all avenues to scrutinize the deal, emphasizing the necessity of evaluating antitrust and national security aspects, ensuring the deal aligns with national interests.
Three Republican senators joined the chorus, urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to intervene, citing potential national security threats in this significant steel acquisition.
Steel Manufacturers Association President Philip Bell offered a differing perspective, highlighting that the deal doesn't consolidate control over critical steel production sectors under one entity, unlike previous proposals.
While Nippon anticipates regulatory reviews, experts foresee a potential CFIUS review but suggest a blockade would require clear national security threats, referring to past Japanese transactions that underwent similar scrutiny.
A parallel scenario emerged in 2006 with the Dubai Ports World takeover, underscoring the complexities and political pressures associated with foreign acquisitions of U.S. assets, despite CFIUS approval.
The Nippon-U.S. Steel deal faces heightened scrutiny and concerns from key figures, including Biden advisor Brian Deese and bipartisan senators. With regulatory reviews looming, including from CFIUS and discussions on potential national security implications, the deal's fate hangs in the balance amidst calls for thorough assessments and considerations of U.S. interests.