It’s been rumbling on for the best part of 2017, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now given the go-ahead for Heineken’s takeover of Punch.
The CMA has accepted proposals by Heineken made earlier this month to sell 30 pubs and announced the merger will not be referred for an in-depth phase two investigation.
‘In June, the CMA said Heineken’s proposed purchase of part of the Punch estate could reduce competition in 33 local areas across Great Britain,’ the statement read.
‘Before the merger was referred for a further in-depth investigation, the companies were given the opportunity to offer proposals to address these concerns. Heineken has offered to sell pubs in each of the affected areas to preserve competition and ensure customers in these locations do not lose out.
‘Before reaching a final decision, the CMA carefully assessed and consulted publicly on these proposed undertakings. The CMA is satisfied that its concerns have been addressed and has therefore decided that the merger will not be referred for an in-depth phase two investigation.’
Punch stated: ‘Punch notes the announcement by the UK Competition and Markets Authority it has accepted undertakings offered by Heineken UK in lieu of referring the proposed disposal of Punch Taverns Holdco (A) to Heineken for a phase two investigation.’
In February, Punch shareholders overwhelmingly voted to back the deal that would see Heineken and Patron Capital, using Newco Vine Acquisitions as a bidding vehicle, acquire Punch.
Under the terms of the deal, Heineken would acquire from Patron a portfolio of about 1,900 Punch pubs with Patron retaining an additional 1,329 it would run itself. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the month.