What a Waste! Merging Waste Disposal Companies Must Divest Assets to Avoid Antitrust Concerns

  • The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the AGs of Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin sued to block the merger of waste disposal companies Waste Management, Inc. (“WMI”) and Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. (“ADS”) over allegations that the $4.6 billion merger between the two companies would substantially harm competition for waste collection and disposal services in more than 50 local markets. DOJ and the AGs simultaneously filed a proposed final judgment that would require WMI to divest certain assets to mitigate the alleged anticompetitive harms of the merger.
  • The complaint alleges that WMI and ADS compete against each other in many local markets over small container commercial waste collection and municipal solid waste disposal services and that, because the two companies are either the only two competitors or two of a small number of competitors in each local market, their merger would threaten to raise prices and worsen service by eliminating direct competition.
  • Under the terms of the proposed final judgment, WMI would be required to divest 15 landfills, 37 transfer stations, 29 hauling locations, and over 200 waste collection routes, among other things, to GFL Environmental Inc., a Canadian waste management company operating throughout North America. The proposed settlement is subject to a 60-day comment period, after which the court will enter the judgment if it finds the settlement serves the public interest.