(Adds background, quote from OMV)
BRUSSELS, May 5 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Monday it was suspending its in-depth review of plans by Austrian oil and gas group OMV OMVV.VI to take over Hungarian peer MOL MOLB.BU until OMV gave it needed information.
“The clock was stopped because the EU needs additional information,” said Thomas Huemer, a spokesman for OMV in Vienna. The Commission used almost the same words when asked why the review had been halted:
“It’s because we asked for information that they have not provided, so we have had to stop the clock,” said Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the European Union executive.
The Commission gives itself 90 working days to conduct in-depth reviews, which can be extended in special circumstances for limited periods. It had extended its deadline for reviewing the competition implications of the deal to July 22.
However, no deadline is associated with suspensions. In the MOL-OMV case the expectation is for a six- or seven-week suspension, an industry expert said.
OMV owns 20.2 percent of MOL and wants to buy the rest. The Hungarian company has resisted the bid, which valued MOL at $20.7 billion, not including debt.
OMV has made a conditional offer for the company, which it would convert to a formal offer if MOL dismantled its defences against a takeover. At a shareholders meeting on April 23 the company elected not to do so. (Additional reporting by Eva Komarek in Vienna) (Reporting by Dale Hudson, William Schomberg and David Lawsky; Editing by Quentin Bryar)
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