Competition probe into Greene King's Spirit Pub takeover moves on to consultation stage

 
Adam Hignett
The regulator raised concerns about the £774m merger
Greene King’s proposals to the Competition Market Authority (CMA) regarding its acquisition of the Spirit Pub Company reached consultation stage yesterday.

The consultation comes after the regulator raised concerns about the £774m merger shortly after it was announced in May. At the time the authority said the current proposal would “substantially” lessen competition in the pubs sector but pointed to difficulties in only 16 locations.

In order to comply and avoid a more detailed phase II merger investigation Greene King offered to sell 16 pubs which would be divested as properties, together with the relevant pub name and, for managed pubs, the transfer of staff.

The CMA has until 21 July to consider accepting the undertaking, or a modified version of it and has invited interested parties to make their views known by 18 June.

Of the identified pubs the firm is willing to divest, half are in Oxfordshire, with the remaining pubs mainly concentrated in Nottinghamshire.

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