US re-examines P&O takeover

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The Independent Online

Dubai Ports World's £4bn acquisition of P&O will go through a second regulatory investigation in the US, it emerged as a P&O's joint-venture partner petitioned the High Court in London to stop the deal altogether.

A London court hearing, which was meant to be a formality to allow the deal to complete later this week, heard from Eller & Co, P&O's joint-venture partner at the port of Miami, which said that a Dubai bid may "decimate" its business. Eller fears that the licence to operate at the port will be taken away because of security concerns surrounding the bid.

"My clients are fighting for their life," Paul Downes, Eller's lawyer, told the court. "If this sanction goes through it would result in the loss of business concerns in Miami which they value at $150m (£86m)." He said 1,500 jobs were at risk.

Martin Moore, a lawyer for P&O, said that Eller's case was "woefully thin" and that the court should sanction the deal as quickly as possible.

Separately in the US, the Bush administration said it will conduct a highly unusual second review of potential security risks involved in the deal.

DP World, which has already been through a 30-day inquiry in the US, offered to put itself through a fuller 45-day inquiry.