Britain's High Courts Approve Dubai Ports World Takeover

Britain's High Court has approved the takeover of British shipping icon Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. by state-owned Dubai Ports World, despite a last-minute objection by a U.S. company.

Justice Nicholas Warren dismissed the appeal from Miami-based Eller & Co. as he gave the required go-ahead for the £3.9 billion ($6.8 billion) deal.

"The objections of Eller do not persuade me that I should not sanction the scheme," Warren said.

Eller had argued that U.S. concerns about a United Arab Emirates company owning significant operations at six major U.S. seaports could substantially harm its business.

The proposed deal has caused consternation among some lawmakers and businesses in the United States.

The judge said he took into account U.S. concerns.

"I have been treated to a large amount of evidence on press releases and articles which were no doubt being spun to this direction or that," Warren said.

DP World, which has already received approval from the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CIFIUS, has tried to douse some of the U.S. outcry by volunteering to submit to a second 45-day investigation of the deal's potential security risks.

Warren also noted that the company has agreed to the extra review.

"The ports involved will continue to operate and it will be an overriding concern of everyone including Congress and the president, to ensure that is so," he said.

U.S. President George W. Bush has supported the deal and lawmakers initially opposed appeared to soften slightly Wednesday, tempering calls for an immediate vote to block the takeover. Many said that the new probe reassured them and negated the need for legislation for now.