The European Commission said Boeing Co. failed to come up with new concessions and faces European rejection of its $15.5 billion acquisition of McDonnell Douglas Corp.
“Unless the legitimate competition concerns of the commission can be met and genuine choice maintained for purchasers of aircraft worldwide, the commission could not approve the merger,” the commission said Tuesday. “Boeing has so far not agreed to measures which would meet these concerns and achieve that objective.”
The commission released its statement after several days of negotiations that ended Tuesday. The commission indicated the burden is now on Boeing to come up with remedies that satisfy the commission’s antitrust concerns, and a spokeswoman for Boeing in Seattle said talks could resume.
“We plan to continue the discussions,” said Boeing spokeswoman Sherry Nebel. “This is not yet over.”
The commission has no authority to block the acquisition, and Boeing investors are betting that the commission will not follow through on its threats to impose sanctions on Boeing and that the acquisition still will go through.
“We’re hard-pressed to see how the EU can ask the world to stop in its tracks to let European industry catch up,” said Nick Heymann, an analyst who follows Boeing at Prudential Securities Inc. in New York. “This is so counterproductive. When it comes time to pull the trigger, I think they’ve got a blank.”
Sanctions could include fines totaling billions of dollars, and any action by the EU could spark a trade war with the U.S.
The Clinton administration sent a delegation to Brussels last weekend to warn the EU that it intends to back Boeing in this dispute, and officials indicated last week the U.S. would consider retaliatory measures on other products from Europe if sanctions were imposed.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.