Maytag officials have agreed to let competitor Whirlpool go through Maytag’s books. The Newton-based appliance-maker had been reluctant to let Whirlpool, which has made a bid to buy Maytag, review its internal records. Congressman Leonard Boswell of Des Moines represents the Newton area, and he’s concerned by the move. “If a buying entity, Whirlpool or whatever, was just using this as a ruse to come in and see their books and then to take advantage of whatever might become of (Maytag) if they go on to the first buyer…then that would be a compounding, bad thing,” Boswell says. Boswell met privately in May with Maytag officials and Boswell says he’s keeping in touch with the local union leadership, too. “The workers are in a terrible dilemma,” Boswell says. “There’s terrible anxiety going on there.” Boswell had earlier expressed concerns about a bid from a China appliance-maker that offered to buy Maytag, and he’s relieved that offer was withdrawn. Boswell cites the state of affairs of the former Murray lawnmower company which was acquired by the Chinese.The company is now bankrupt, but the Chinese buyers now hold all the patents for those Murray lawnmowers, and Boswell believes the Chinese may start to make what he calls a “Brand X” lawnmower with cheap Chinese labor, using the know-how developed by the Murray company when it was U.S. held.
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