The UK Competition Authority requires an American company unwind a completed acquisition (Stericycle / Ecowaste Southwest Limited)

On 21 March, the Competition Commission ("CC") announced that it will require U.S. firm Stericycle to sell Ecowaste Southwest Limited ("ESL") – a company it bought just over a year ago. On what basis has the buyer found itself in such an unsatisfactory situation? The answer probably lies somewhere between the "voluntary" nature of the UK merger control regime, an apparently high-risk strategy by Stericycle, and possibly the increasingly active policy by the OFT to investigate completed deals. Key features of UK merger control UK merger control law operates a so-called voluntary notification system, whereby an acquiring party can complete and implement its deal without notifying the UK Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") for merger clearance. However, whether or not a completed deal is

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