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Ecolab says Champion purchase will close in days

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ecolab Inc. said Monday it will complete its $2.16 billion acquisition of Champion Technologies in the next few days after it agreed to sell some of Champion's assets to resolve antitrust concerns.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Ecolab will sell assets used by Champion Technologies that are used to provide production chemical management services. The Justice Department said the original deal would have combined two of the biggest production chemical management services for deepwater oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. That combination would have led to higher prices, lower service quality, and reduced innovation, the agency said.

Ecolab is a cleaning, food safety and pest-control services company based in St. Paul, Minn. It agreed to buy Champion Technologies from Permian Mud Service Inc. in October for $2.16 billion in cash and stock. It originally expected to complete the purchase by the end of 2012, but it now expects to complete the deal within the next several days.

Ecolab said the Houston business it is acquiring had $1.3 billion in revenue in 2012, and the divestiture will affect about 3 percent of Champion's business.

The company expects the purchase to add 7 cents per share to its net income in 2013 and said that total will increase to 50 cents per share by 2016.

Ecolab shares picked up 70 cents to $80.04 on Monday and fell 54 cents to $79.50 in aftermarket trading. The stock has traded between $59.81 and $80.69 in the last year.