Nebraska attorney general lauds merger agreement

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2009 3:33 PM

A deal between the Justice Department and a medical-waste company seeking to buy a smaller rival will ensure the industry remains competitive and costs stay low in Nebraska, the state's attorney general said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice along with the states of Missouri and Nebraska on Monday approved Stericycle Inc.'s acquisition of Houston-based MedServe by the end of the year.

Under the agreement, Lake Forest, Ill.-based Stericycle must sell some of MedServe's businesses so as not to violate antitrust law. The department and the states had feared the buyout could have reduced competition, leading to higher prices and reduced services in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

"Nebraskans are already dealing with high medical costs," Attorney General Jon Bruning said Wednesday. "If this merger had proceeded as originally proposed, medical providers would have faced even greater costs, which would have been passed along to the consumer."

Stericycle said it will pay MedServe $182.5 million instead of $185 million and will sell a sterilization facility in Kansas. It will also sell its transfer stations in Kansas City, Kan., Oklahoma City, Omaha, Neb., and Booneville, Mo., as well as some large customer accounts and assets related to those facilities.

As part of the settlement, Stericycle agreed to notify the Justice Department and the states of Missouri and Nebraska before it acquires any business involved in collecting and treating infectious waste in the four states.