Originally created 11/27/98

EU would examine any alliance between Exxon and Mobil



BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission would review any merger between Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp. to see if it violates the European Union's antitrust laws, a EU official said Thursday.

"It is clear that a deal of this size would prompt an inquiry," the official said, adding that the companies have not contacted the EU.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that the two companies are contemplating a merger and that an announcement could come next week. The companies have declined to comment.

The EU official, who asked not to be named, said any investigation would focus on the different market segments each company operates in separately.

Under EU law, companies doing business in the EU must abide by EU antitrust legislation. If the European Commission finds a merger results in an unfair advantage it may disallow the merger or order changes in the venture.

An Exxon-Mobil merger would result in a company with a market capitalization of $237 billion.

Exxon is the world's second-largest energy company after the Royal Dutch-Shell Group of Cos. Mobil is the second-largest U.S. oil and gas group after Exxon and the fourth-largest in the world.

A merger between Exxon and Mobil would likely surpass the merger announced this summer between British Petroleum and Amoco Corp., the largest industrial deal in history.