No settlement likely as Electrolux heads to trial over GE bid

The Electrolux logo is seen during the IFA Electronics show in Berlin September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AB Electrolux is not in settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department on its bid for General Electric's appliance business, a lawyer for Electrolux said on Thursday as the two sides prepared for a trial starting next week.

The United States asked a federal court in July to stop Electrolux, which makes Frigidaire, Kenmore and Tappan appliances, from buying GE's appliance business for $3.3 billion. The two sides go before a judge on Monday.

"There are no settlement talks under way. There is no additional settlement being considered," said Joe Sims, an attorney for the Swedish company that makes Frigidaire, Kenmore and Tappan appliances. "I don't think there's any realistic possibility that there will be a settlement."

Sims said that Electrolux would call as witnesses top executives of both Electrolux and GE's appliance business, as well as executives from retailers and homebuilding companies.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The agency has argued that Electrolux and GE, along with Whirlpool Corp, make 90 percent of the stoves and ovens sold to big builders and property managers in the United States. The department said the proposed deal violates U.S. antitrust law, which is designed to stop mergers that would raise prices for consumers.

Electrolux maintains that companies such as Samsung and LG Electronics are moving into the U.S. market for appliances, diluting its market power.

The case is United States v AB Electrolux and General Electric Co, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 15-1039.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey)