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UK CMA Says It Could Accept Undertakings For Liqui-Box, DS Smith Deal

UNITED KINGDOM (From news reports) - The UK Competition & Markets Authority said it might be able to clear the acquisition of DS Smith PLC's plastic division by Liqui-Box Corp following the offer of undertakings by Liqui-Box.

In mid-July, the regulator had said the initial phase of its investigation of the proposed acquisition found that it would create "insufficient competition", given that Liqui-Box and DS Smith's are two of only four companies offering specialist Bag-in-Box packaging to food and drink suppliers in the UK.
Aside from the potentially higher prices due to fewer packaging choices in the market, the CMA is also concerned the takeover could lead to lower-quality products.
Liqui-Box offered undertakings to the regulator on Friday last week, following which the CMA said that there were "reasonable grounds" for the undertakings to remedy the lessening of competition to be accepted. The CMA didn't disclose the specific undertakings that were offered by Liqui-Box.
The CMA first said in May it would probe the proposed acquisition after the GBP450 million takeover was announced in March.

The regulator now has until the end of September to decide whether it will accept the undertaking, but holds the option to extend the deadline to November 25 if there are special reasons to do so.


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