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Larry Fullerton, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Merger Enforcement in the Antitrust Division, issued the following statement today after the District Court in Washington, D.C. approved the Thomson/West settlement:

"The Department is pleased that the court recognized that it is in the public interest to approve the settlement of this merger along the lines agreed to by the parties. We now expect quick completion of the 52 product divestitures and other relief required in the decree, which definitely will help to preserve competition for consumers of legal information.

"I am also very pleased at the unprecedented level of successful cooperation between the Department and the seven state attorneys general in investigating this merger and in developing an appropriate settlement for our joint challenge of it."

The U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., Judge Paul Friedman presiding, today approved the final judgment proposed by the parties in settlement of the $3.4 billion Thomson/West legal publishing merger announced last June.

The court's approval came after a long and detailed review process in which the judge carefully considered comments and arguments from all interested persons on the many issues touched on by the proposed decree.

After requiring only a few minor changes and clarifications to which Thomson, West, the Department of Justice, and seven state attorney general plaintiffs all agreed, the proposed decree was determined to be in the public interest.