Britain to launch in-depth probe into $14.6 bln Veolia-Suez merger

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Dec 21 (Reuters) - Britain's antitrust watchdog launched on Monday an in-depth probe into the 13 billion euro ($14.67 billion) merger of Veolia (VIE.PA) and Suez (SEVI.PA) after the French waste and water management groups did not offer concessions over its concerns.

Earlier this month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal could lessen competition and mean higher bills for councils in the UK, and gave the firms time until Dec. 14 to propose undertakings to avoid a "phase 2" investigation. read more

The waste and water management groups did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

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Last week, Veolia and Suez won EU antitrust approval for their tie-up, and the European Commission said an extensive package of asset sales addressed all its concerns about the deal. read more

The deal, which was struck in April, marked a bitter and months-long dispute before the companies reached an agreement.

Britain has the power to order the sale or divestment of part of the whole of a business if it ultimately concludes that there are competition concerns.

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Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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