Austrian oil and gas group OMV has called off its unsolicited 15 billion euro bid for its Hungarian rival MOL. It said that was because conditions imposed by the European Union were too tough to make it worthwhile. The European Commission has raised concerns that an OMV-MOL merger would reduce competition and could lead to higher prices.
OMV’s chief executive, Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, blamed Brussels, but also said MOL wanted too much: “We already knew one thing, they wanted more. That much was clear. What we didn’t know exactly was what would have satisfied them, but we told them, you’ve reached the limit.”
The withdrawal ends an acrimonious standoff between the companies that lasted one year and had begun to irritate some investors and pulled down OMV’s share price. Ruttenstorfer said OMV will keep its just over 20% stake in MOL, for the time being, to stay involved in the consolidation of the region’s energy sector.