Tronox files lawsuit to prevent FTC from blocking proposed Cristal acquisition
Tronox filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from blocking the company's proposed acquisition of the titanium dioxide business of Cristal, a privately held global chemical and mining company headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The FTC is trying to block the acquisition, not through the ordinary litigation process in federal court, but rather by solely using its administrative process to run out the clock until the transaction agreement expires. This denies the company the opportunity for the legality of the proposed acquisition to be decided on its merits in a timely manner. The proposed acquisition was originally announced in February 2017. If the combination is not completed by May 21, 2018, either party would have the right to terminate the agreement unless such date is amended by mutual agreement. Tronox made the decision to file its lawsuit because the FTC has employed a litigation strategy to rely solely on an administrative process that could not possibly conclude before the acquisition agreement expires, a thinly veiled attempt to run out the clock instead of resolving its concerns about the transaction on their merits. An action in federal court would need to be initiated in the near future in order to allow for a timely resolution.