Whirlpool Corp. can complete its $1.68-billion takeover of Maytag Corp., the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday, rejecting concerns from its own lawyers that the combination might hurt competition.
The acquisition, approved without any required divestitures, will create the world's largest appliance maker, accounting for 70% of U.S. sales.
Thomas O. Barnett, in his first merger decision since being confirmed as the Bush administration's antitrust chief, said "competitive dynamics" would deny the new company power to raise prices.
Shares of Maytag surged $4.73 to $21.81. Whirlpool jumped $6.38 to $95.95.