Also in the late 1990s, Travelers Group merged with Citicorp, forming the world's largest financial services company, while Ford Motor Company bought the car business of Sweden's AB Volvo. Following a wave of Japanese takeovers of U.S. companies in the 1980s, German and British firms grabbed the spotlight in the 1990s, as Chrysler Corporation merged into Germany's Daimler-Benz AG and Deutsche Bank AG took over Bankers Trust. Marking one of business history's high ironies, Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation merged, restoring more than half of John D. Rockefeller's industry-dominating Standard Oil Company empire, which was broken up by the Justice Department in 1911. The $81,380 million merger raised concerns among antitrust officials, even though the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously approved the consolidation.
The Commission did require Exxon and Mobil agreed to sell or sever supply contracts with 2,143 gas stations in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, California, and Texas, and to divest a large California refinery, oil terminals, a pipeline, and other assets. That represented one of the largest divestitures ever mandated by antitrust agencies. And FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky warned that any further petroleum-industry mergers with similar "national reach" could come close to setting off "antitrust alarms." The FTC staff immediately recommended that the agency challenge a proposed purchase by BP Amoco PLC of Atlantic Richfield Company.
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This article is adapted from the book "Outline of the U.S. Economy" by Conte and Carr and has been adapted with permission from the U.S. Department of State.