ICC DENIES 3 LAST-MINUTE BIDS TO HALT BN-SANTA FE MERGER

ICC DENIES 3 LAST-MINUTE BIDS TO HALT BN-SANTA FE MERGER

The historic merger of Burlington Northern Railroad and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co. is scheduled to be consummated today at a joint board meeting of the two carriers' holding companies in Ft. Worth, Tex.

The $4 billion transaction creating the nation's largest railroad survived a last-ditch effort to derail the merger before the Interstate Commerce

Commission.On Thursday, the ICC rejected petitions from Kansas City Southern Railway and two units of the United Transportation Union to halt the merger.

KCS argued that the ICC's original decision in favor of the merger needed to be reconsidered in light of the recently announced Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroad merger plan.

The ICC decision said it found no likelihood that KCS' argument could prevail in a reconsideration of the BN-Santa Fe case in light of the agency's longstanding rule to consider transactions on a "case-by-case" basis.

In Texas, plans continued for today's meeting, formally capping a process that began 15 months ago when the two carriers announced their merger intentions.

As the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, the new company will serve 27 states and two Canadian provinces, stretching from Pensacola, Fla., to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Duluth, Minn., to San Diego.

Shareholders of both companies approved the transaction in February. The ICC approved the rail merger by voice vote in July, with a written decision following on Aug. 23. Shareholders of both companies approved the transaction in February.

The 30-day appeal period after the written decision was issued ends today.

More announcements are expected after today's board meeting. Two weeks ago, the company's senior management lineup was announced and the location of its headquarters at Fort Worth was revealed.

An attorney for KCS said the company was not seeking an emergency stay to halt the BN-SF merger, but is still considering an appeal of the case.

The other two petitions, from the UTU's Patrick W. Simmons and John Fitzgerald, made similar arguments that the merger should be stayed or reopened in light of the UP-SP deal.