The UK's competition authority has given the green light to Long Clawson Dairy's acquisition of the Millway stilton business from Dairy Crest.

The GBP3.5m (US$6.1m) deal, which was agreed in July, was referred to the Competition Commission (CC) in October by the Office of Fair Trading.

The CC approved the deal after it found that, without the sale, Dairy Crest would have closed the loss-making business.

"Without the acquisition the firm was going under, so there was going to be a loss of competition anyway," a spokesperson for the CC told just-food today (19 December).

"[We] did have to consider whether the assets and customers going all to one company rather than possibly being split up amongst different buyers was a problem, but we concluded that the overall difference was small," the spokesperson added.

The loss of competition caused by the merger "is likely to be small", the Commission concluded, despite the fact that it gives Long Clawson control of over 50% of the UK stilton market.