The battle over whether Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCC) will be able to merge with P&O Princess Cruises (POC) or whether Carnival Corporation will be able to acquire POC may go on until the end of the summer.

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into Carnival's proposed acquisition of POC, following a six-week preliminary investigation. In a prepared statement, the Commission cited "serious concerns, particularly in relation to the parties' strong position in the cruise sector in the U.K., Germany and possibly other European countries."

The Commission also said that some concerns had been raised as to the detrimental effect Carnival's bid could have on shipbuilding, ports and travel agencies.

A final decision is expected by early August 2002. Meanwhile, the RCC deal is being investigated by U.K. anti-trust authorities, which are expected to announce their decision by late May. German anti-trust authorities have already cleared the RCC merger with POC. Both proposals are also under review by the Federal Trade Commission, which is expected to reach its decision sometime this summer.