Seismograph deal may be referred

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The Independent Online
THE Government has said it will refer Schlumberger's acquisition of Seismograph Services from the fellow US firm Raytheon to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission unless suitable competition undertakings are obtained.

Michael Heseltine, the President of the Board of Trade, said in a statement that concerns about adverse effects on the UK market for bore hole seismics had led to the move.

Mr Heseltine has asked the Office of Fair Trading to open negotiations immediately with Schlumberger to gain undertakings to remedy these, otherwise the MMC will step in.

Schlumberger announced the agreement to buy Raytheon's seismic survey businesses - of which Seismograph Services is part - in July for an undisclosed sum.

Parties objecting to the deal have until 4 November to make their views known in writing to the OFT, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

A monopolies investigation can take up to six months.

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