Following an extensive investigation, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today cleared the proposed acquisition of 4 Aces Wholesale Limited (4 Aces) by BWG Foods Unlimited Company (BWG), subject to a number of binding commitments.
On 31 January 2018, the CCPC undertook an in-depth investigation to 'establish whether the proposed transaction would result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market for goods or services in the State' following BWG's announcement that it had 'agreed terms to acquire the well established independent wholesaler and member of the Gala Retail Group, for an undisclosed sum.
'In the course of the investigation, the CCPC identified a potential competition concern in relation to access to competitively sensitive information, arising from 4 Ace’s relationship with Stonehouse Marketing Limited and Gala Retail Services Limited. To address these concerns, BWG agreed to submit commitments to the CCPC, which included; A divestment commitment; A firewall commitment and A confidentiality commitment,' the retail and wholesale company said in a statement.
The Spar, Eurospar, Londis, MACE and XL owner outlined that the divestment commitment will ensure that BWG divests itself fully of 4 Aces’ shareholding in Stonehouse. The confidentiality and firewall commitments are intended to prevent the exchange of commercially sensitive information post-transaction.
Following detailed consideration and further analysis, the CCPC concluded that these commitments, which were taken into account as part of its determination, were appropriate and effective in addressing its competition concerns, the statement said.
The CCPC will reportedly publish detailed reasons for its determination in due course, 'after allowing the parties the opportunity to request the removal of confidential information from the published version'.
4 Aces, which emplys 85 staff is a family-led business and previously reported a turnover of €57.5 million for 2016.
It is currently owned by its principals, Liam Linden and Pascal O’Brien, who will be remaining with the company following the acquisition.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.