US Steel, once the biggest corporation on the planet, and a symbol of America’s industrial might, has agreed to be taken over by Japan’s Nippon Steel in a deal worth $14.9 billion. Meanwhile the proposed deal set Washington aflame, with lawmakers from both parties vowing to block the deal’s completion.

The deal was announced on Monday by the companies, which said that under the deal, Nippon Steel will pay $55 cash for each share of US Steel, for a total of about $14.1 billion. In addition, Nippon Steel will assume approximately $800 million in debt as part of the deal. According to US Steel, the deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2024, following approvals from shareholders and the government.

The purchase price will be a 40% premium over the share price of US Steel prior to the announcement. In addition, the offer is a 57% increase over a July takeover offer from US Steel’s US rival Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., which the company had rejected. Following the closure of the deal, US Steel will continue to maintain its headquarters in Pittsburgh, however it will have become a subsidiary of Japan-based Nippon Steel.

Reacting to the news of the deal,  Senator John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said, “The acquisition of US Steel by a foreign company is wrong for workers and wrong for Pennsylvania. I’m gonna do everything I can to block it.” He went on to say the sale of the US company to a foreign buyer was, “absolutely outrageous,” noting that “Steel is always about security.”

Republican Senator J.D. Vance, from Ohio agreed with the sentiment, noting he also would be doing everything in his power to prevent the finalization of the deal. He said, “Today, a critical piece of America’s defense industrial base was auctioned off to foreigners for cash. I warned of this outcome months ago and will oppose it in the months ahead.”

In the present day, with about 22,000 employees, the company ranks as the third largest steel producer in the United States, behind Nucor and Cleveland-Cliffs. The company is a fraction of the size of many overseas producers, with only about one ninth the production of China Baowu Group. Even should it become a subsidiary of Nippon Steel, the combined production of the final company would only produce under 90 million metric tons of the metal per year, while Baowu produces 132 million metric tons per year.

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