The saga continues. ABC News are reporting that Eller & Co of Miami USA have won the right to to take the case of the sale of P&O to a Dubai company to the British Court of Appeal. This has meant the sale has had to be put on hold:
LONDON Mar 3, 2006 (AP)— A Miami company objecting to the takeover of British shipping company P&O by Dubai’s state-owned DP World said Friday it has been granted the right to take the case to Britain’s Court of Appeal a move that puts the deal on hold. Miami-based Eller & Co., which says its business could be harmed by U.S. concerns over a United Arab Emirates company controlling significant operations at six major U.S. seaports, said Britain’s Court of Appeal would hear its petition for an appeal on Monday. If the right to appeal is granted, the higher court will immediately hear the case. “We don’t take the decision to appeal lightly,” Eller said in a statement issued in London. “However, we are deeply concerned for the future of our business and the livelihood of thousands of our staff and contractors and we will do everything in our power to secure their future.”
P&O runs shipping terminals in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia a fact that has caused an uproar among lawmakers and businesses in the United States concerned about an Arab company taking over the ports. DP World has attempted to defuse some of the tension by submitting itself to a second 45-day investigation by the U.S. government, despite already receiving regulatory approval for the deal. The 3.9 billion pound ($6.8 billion) acquisition of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. needs approval by the High Court approval that was granted Thursday by Justice Nicholas Warren. However, Warren placed a hold on his ruling to allow Eller to take the case to the higher court, and it will not become effective unless the Court of Appeal refuses to hear the case. Lawyers for DP World have warned that a delay beyond Friday means the company will not be able to access the millions of dollars it needs to pay shareholders on time. The deal was previously scheduled to be completed Thursday. Both P&O and DP World will incur hefty costs while the case drags on and lawyers have said they intend to pursue Eller for the High Court costs when the appeal is decided.