U.S. asks court to halt sugar deal closing pending appeal

The seal of the United States Department of Justice is seen on the building exterior of the United States Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department asked an appeals court on Thursday to prevent the closing of U.S. Sugar's plan to buy Imperial Sugar Co after a lower court ruled that the $315 million deal could go forward.

The department asked the court to order the companies to delay closing until an appeal could be heard. It argued that the relief was needed to "protect competition and to preserve the Government's ability to obtain an effective remedy on appeal." It said that if the appeals court does not act that the companies could close on October 3.

U.S. Sugar, which has fought the government to preserve the merger, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Judge Maryellen Noreika of the U.S. District Court for Delaware had ruled for the companies on Sept. 23, rejecting the government's request that she stop the deal from going forward. read more

The case is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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