Image courtesy of Amio Cajander/Wikimedia Commons.

European regulators have pushed back the deadline for their decision on the pending Halliburton and Baker Hughes merger to August.

According to Reuters, the European Commission now expects to issue its decision on the $35 billion merger no later than August 11.

The Commission paused its review of the deal again last month as it sought more information on the proposed combination.

The Commission had previously expected to issue its decision by July 11.

The deal was initially slated to close in the second half of 2015.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes previously agreed to extend the time period to obtain regulatory approvals to no later than April 30, 2016, as permitted under the merger agreement.

If the judicial review extends beyond April 30, the companies may continue to seek relevant regulatory approvals or either of the parties may terminate the merger agreement.

If the merger does not win regulatory approval, Halliburton must pay a $3.5 billion fee.

Halliburton agreed to buy Baker Hughes in November for $34.6 billion in cash and stock, or $78.62 per Baker Hughes share.

The combined companies had a 2013 pro-forma revenue of $51.8 billion, beating the $45.3 billion in revenue booked by Houston-based rival Schlumberger.

The Commission’s announcement is just the latest regulatory hurdle the merger has faced this month.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the deal.

The DOJ said in a statement that the proposed transaction would eliminate “important head-to-head competition in markets for 23 products or services” used for onshore and offshore oil exploration and production in the United States.

The DOJ also alleged that Halliburton’s proposed divestiture plan would mostly allow the company to retain “the more valuable assets from either company while selling less significant assets to a third party.”

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where both companies are incorporated, and asks the court to issue a full-stop injunction.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes said they “intend to vigorously contest the U.S. Department of Justice’s effort” to block the merger.

“The companies believe that the DOJ has reached the wrong conclusion in its assessment of the transaction and that its action is counterproductive, especially in the context of the challenges the U.S. and global energy industry are currently experiencing,” the  companies said in a joint statement.

The deal has already received unconditional regulatory clearances in Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa and Turkey.


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