Canadian Pacific is putting the brakes on efforts to take over competitor Norfolk Southern, at least for now.
Keith Creel, CP’s president and chief operating officer, said the issue has become unnecessarily politicized and created an environment where the acquisition wouldn’t receive fair consideration by the federal agency charged with approving the plan.
“If the politics trump the facts then you’re … wasting your time,” Creel told POLITICO, citing the dozens of lawmakers that have weighed in against the proposed merger in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin called for a congressional hearing on the issue.
CP is awaiting a response from the Department of Justice on a letter it sent questioning the legality of actions by other railroads opposed to the plan, Creel said, before deciding on the next step. “Right now we’re taking a pause to let the DOJ weigh in. … It’s more, right now, a step back, wait and see before we make a final decision,” he said.
Creel said the steady stream of lawmaker opposition letters flowing to the Surface Transportation Board, the independent regulatory agency with sole authority to approve a merger, has made CP’s pursuit nearly impossible.
“Obviously it’s caused us to pause and ask ourselves are we going to get a fair consideration,” he said. “Norfolk Southern and their lobbyists and their Washington machine has come out guns blazing trying to generate a mountain of opposition.”
A spokesman for Norfolk Southern declined to comment.