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In a steel-forged showdown, U.S. Steel Corp and rival steelmaker Cleveland-Cliffs Inc are embroiled in a fierce battle over a confidentiality agreement crucial to the ongoing sale process. U.S. Steel has been tight-lipped with Cliffs since announcing its intention to explore a sale, prompting initial bids from other potential buyers this week.

The bone of contention? Cliffs’ refusal to sign a six-month standstill agreement, allowing them to maintain their options while pursuing U.S. Steel. This standoff has led U.S. Steel to make the standstill agreement a prerequisite for due diligence and participation in the sale process, asserting that all bidders receive the same treatment.

Cliffs, however, has opened its books to U.S. Steel, backed by an impressive list of banks, as it aims to break into the world’s top 10 steel producers. The clash rages on, leaving the future of U.S. Steel uncertain and the steel industry’s drama far from steeling itself against twists and turns.