Pub operator Greene King yesterday toasted the competition watchdog’s approval of its £774m takeover of Spirit.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was satisfied the proposed sale of 16 pubs by the combined group would fix concerns raised by the company’s acquisition of Spirit Pub Company, and would not be referring the deal to an in-depth phase two investigation.
The decision follows a consultation on the offerings, which no-one participated in. The CMA said in May it did not have “major concerns”, but was worried the deal could result in substantial lessening of competition in 16 areas.
Last week Greene King said it was submitting plans to the regulator to dispose of 16 pubs and would press ahead with the takeover regardless of the CMA’s decision, which was expected to be positive.
The deal will create the largest directly-managed pub group in the UK pub group with over 3,000 establishments. It is set for completion today, and the enlarged Greene King group is expected to begin trading on Wednesday.
Spirit was first founded by Greene King rivals Punch Taverns in 1999.