Nippon Steel Corp said Wednesday its planned $14.1 billion acquisition of U.S. Steel will proceed as planned, dismissing opposition expressed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he will block the deal if he returns to power.
“The deal is beneficial to both countries, as well as relevant industries,” Nippon Steel Executive Vice President Takahiro Mori told an online press conference. “It should not be blocked by ulterior motives in the political world.”
The Japanese company said there will be no change in the schedule of the deal, which is expected to be closed in the second or third quarter of 2024.
The planned acquisition of the iconic U.S. steelmaker has become a political issue as Trump seeks to appeal to the patriotic sentiment of American voters to win the November presidential election.
The former president said last month he would block Nippon Steel’s plan to buy the American company if he came back to the White House.
“We saved the steel industry. Now, U.S. Steel is being bought by Japan. So terrible,” he said.
Nippon Steel’s Mori said, “It’s not clear if (Trump) fully understands the content of the deal. If he knows the deal will contribute to U.S. industry, he will understand.”
The deal, which would catapult Nippon Steel to the world’s No. 3 steelmaker, seeks to tap into the increasing demand for high-grade steel products in the world’s biggest economy, it has said.
The plan also met criticism from United Steelworkers, a major labor union that is trying to stop the deal out of concern over the steelmaker changing hands to a foreign company. The organization said earlier this month that President Joe Biden supports its efforts.
Nippon Steel thinks “it is possible to find common ground through dialogue,” Mori said.
Still, it remains unclear if the acquisition will be completed as planned because it is subject to approval by the U.S. firm’s shareholders and regulators in the country.
Bloomberg News reported last month that a U.S. national security review of Nippon Steel’s takeover may extend into 2025, citing people familiar with the matter.
“If (relevant authorities) look at the details of the deal, it will be very clear that there will be no problem in terms of national security in the United States,” Mori said.