The North: The steel deal
When Greif, a world leader in industrial packaging products and services, announced it was to acquire the steel drum manufacturing business of Blagden Packaging Group in October 2006, alarm bells began to ring at the UK competition authorities. Greif, which has its UK headquarters in Ellesmere Port, and Blagden, which has a base in Trafford Park, Manchester, were the UK's leading manufacturers of steel drums used for industrial packaging and between them supplied around 85% of the market. Four days after the announcement, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) wrote to Greif requesting details of the acquisition. Thus began more than nine months of investigations by the OFT and, subsequently, by the UK Competition Commission (CC) as to whether a merger would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK.
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