Mobil Corp. moved back to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday with its last-ditch effort to stop U.S. Steel Corp. from acquiring Marathon Oil Co.
With time rapidly running out, the oil giant filed an emergency appeal with Chief Justice Warren Burger for an injunction to block its rival for the smaller oil firm. Unless Burger acts or another bidder steps in, U.S. Steel may begin buying shares of Marathon after midnight tonight.
More than enough shares have been offered to ensure the success of U.S. Steel's tender offer, and most of those are already on deposit with Bankers Trust.
Marathon and U.S. Steel filed papers opposing the Mobil request.
U.S. Steel filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing against Mobil's request to enjoin it. "What Mobil is attempting in this court is to mix and confuse two separate federal statutes and create a new remedy, never contemplated by Congress, that would allow any tender offeror that has been enjoined because of its own antitrust violations to freeze all other tender offerors from proceeding with their legal offers while the complainant attempts to resolve its antitrust problems," U.S. Steel argued.
Marathon said Mobil failed to show that it is entitled to the relief sought. "The question is not one that should warrant the attention of this court," Marathon said.
Mobil has sought to have the Supreme Court review the lower court decisions in the context of an agreement that it reached with Amerada Hess Corp. under which Amerada Hess would take over Marathon's marketing, refining and transportation operations.