Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was sued by U.S. antitrust officials who say its planned takeover of rival oil-services firm Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) threatens competition and should be blocked, a blow to Halliburton’s bid to bulk up to better compete against rival Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB).

In late-2014, Halliburton announced plans to acquire Baker Hughes, marking one of the largest takeovers of a U.S. energy company in recent years. The deal, which would unite the No. 2 and No. 3 firms in the industry, threatens to eliminate head-to-head competition in 23 products and services used in oil exploration and create a duopoly with market leader Schlumberger, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

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