Esmark scraps bid for U.S. Steel

FILE PHOTO: Steel workers at U.S. Steel Granite City Works in Granite City

(Reuters) -Privately held steel company Esmark said on Wednesday it would not participate in the purchase process for U.S. Steel Corp and respect the position of the United Steel Workers (USW) union, which is supporting Cleveland-Cliffs’ offer.

Last week, Esmark made an offer to buy U.S. Steel for $35 per share, or an equity value of $7.8 billion.

Esmark’s exit leaves Arcelor-Mittal as the only known potential challenger to Cleveland-Cliffs, which went public with its bid for U.S. Steel earlier in August.

“The U.S. Steel board must go through their process that they previously announced (adding) we will evaluate any opportunities in connection with that process, subject to support from the USW,” Esmark CEO Jim Bouchard said in a statement.

USW, which has asserted itself aggressively in the bidding battle, had said the union would not endorse any buyers other than Cleveland-Cliffs.

However, U.S. Steel last week said its labor agreement with USW does not afford the union the right to veto a sale of the company.

(Reporting by Pratyush Thakur in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)