U.S. Steel Agrees to Be Bought by Japan's Nippon Steel Corporation

  • VOA News

    December 19, 2023 08:03

    One of America's oldest and most iconic companies, United States Steel Corporation, agreed Monday to be sold to Japan's largest steel company, Nippon Steel Corporation, or NSC.
    U.S. Steel has been on the auction block since August, and this all-cash deal from Nippon is the highest bid at $14.1 billion. Included is the assumption of all of U.S. Steel's debts, for a combined deal worth $14.9 billion.
    "NSC has a proven track record of acquiring, operating, and investing in steel mill facilities globally -- and we are confident that, like our strategy, this combination is truly Best for All," David B. Burritt, the president and chief executive officer of U. S. Steel, said in a press release.
    NSC President Eiji Hashimoto said in a statement, "We look forward to collaborating closely with the U.S. Steel team to bring together the best of our companies and move forward together as the 'Best Steelmaker with World-Leading Capabilities.'" 
    The deal's announcement has caused U.S. Steel's stock to soar on the financial markets with the value of stockholders' shares increasing by more than 25 percent. In addition, as part of the deal, Nippon will maintain all of U.S. Steel's union contracts and agreements, retain its name, and keep its Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, headquarters. 
    A portion of U.S. Steel's Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock, Pennsylvania is shown on Dec. 18, 2023. /AP
    Despite these guarantees, opposition to the deal from the United Steelworkers, or USW, union was swift, highly critical and decisive. There are 11,000 steelworker union members at U.S. Steel and their leadership made clear their plans to block the deal and urged U.S. regulators to reject it.
    "To say we're disappointed in the announced deal between U.S. Steel and Nippon is an understatement, as it demonstrates the same greedy, shortsighted attitude that has guided U.S. Steel for far too long," the United Steelworkers International President David McCall said in a statement.
    The offer by Nippon to acquire U.S. Steel is far from a done deal. In addition to overcoming the opposition of the 1.2 million worldwide members of the United Steelworkers union, the deal is expected to be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States or CFIUS. CFIUS reviews transactions involving foreign investment in the U.S. and their potential impact on national security.
    It can take 45 days for the committee to review the deal, and an additional 45 days to investigate it. Then, there is a 15-day presidential review period. That means it could take months for Nippon's acquisition of U.S. Steel to actually be approved or rejected.
    VOA asked the committee when the assessment of the deal might begin, but the committee declined to comment.
    Nippon and U.S. Steel, however, have expressed optimism that the deal will close by the third quarter of 2024. The 122-year-old U.S. Steel was once the world's largest and most valuable company, and the first to be valued at more than a billion dollars. After many years of decline, however, it currently struggles, some critics say, largely due to the company's failure to modernize its steel-making processes and plants.  
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