British regulators have called a halt to the integration by Melville-based Henry Schein Inc. of a business it recently acquired while it reviews the deal's effects on competition.
The Competition & Markets Authority issued the order on Jan. 16, weeks after Henry Schein UK Holdings Ltd. had acquired assets of Plandent Ltd., a distributor of dental supplies.
The initial enforcement order calls for no new action to combine the two businesses, transfer ownership or impair their ability to compete independently.
Henry Schein UK acquired Plandent's consumables business in late December from Planmeca Oy, based in Helsinki. Henry Schein is a global distributor of dental, medical and animal health products to practitioners' offices, and Long Island's largest company by revenue.
Plandent Ltd. retained its dental equipment business, but sold the unit that distributes items that are used and discarded during the course of a dental procedure.
A spokeswoman for the agency said in an email that once it had received relevant documents it would make a determination within 40 days on whether to take further action. The agency can impose fines and reverse mergers that it deems anti-competitive.
"Henry Schein UK is fully cooperating with CMA's request," a Henry Schein Inc. spokeswoman said in a statement. "During the review period, we will operate Henry Schein and the acquired Plandent business as independent companies in compliance with the CMA's order."
Kaushik Sengupta, chairman of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at Hofstra University, said Henry Schein's strategy is to grow the company through mergers and acquisitions.
"The culture of the company is built on that," he said. "They've always been a U.S.-focused operation, but of late they've been branching into Europe, China and East Asia."
Financial terms of the Plandent deal were not disclosed.
In a research note Tuesday, Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Jeff Johnson said the Plandent deal, if cleared by regulators, could add more than a nickel to Henry Schein's 2015 earnings per share. He later corrected that estimate, saying "it would likely add no more than roughly a penny tailwind" to Schein's EPS.