Competition & Markets Authority
Pub merger to be cleared if local concerns overcome
Stonegate Pub Company’s proposed purchase of Ei Group does not raise UK-wide competition concerns but could damage competition in 51 local areas.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the anticipated £3 billion deal between the 2 pub groups. Together, they operate close to 5,000 pubs across the UK, including popular chains such as the Slug and Lettuce and Yates, as well as a large number of unbranded pubs.
After completing its initial Phase 1 investigation, the CMA has found that the purchase does not raise competition concerns on a UK-wide basis. While the merged business will be the largest pub group in the UK, it will continue to face competition at the national level from several other large pub groups.
The CMA has also investigated the potential impact of the merger in more than 500 local areas across the UK, in which both businesses currently have premises. While sufficient competition will remain after the merger in most cases, the CMA found that the deal could reduce choice for pub goers in 51 local areas where the combined business would face only limited competition.
The CMA is therefore concerned that, if the businesses were to merge, pub goers in those areas could be faced with price increases or lower quality products and services.
The companies now have until 13 December 2019 to suggest ways of overcoming these concerns.
If proposals are not offered, or do not sufficiently address the issues raised, then the merger will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.
For more information, visit the Stonegate Pub Group/ Ei Group plc merger inquiry page.
Latest News from
Competition & Markets Authority
Private healthcare provider fixed prices with consultants25/09/2020 12:20:00
Lessons from the CMA’s investigation into Spire Healthcare's illegal agreement to fix the price of initial consultations for private self-pay patients.
CMA acts to protect competition on UK-US airline routes18/09/2020 09:20:00
Due to coronavirus, the CMA has imposed measures to protect competition on UK-US air routes while it investigates an agreement involving BA and American Airlines.
Motorcycle insurance broker merger raises competition concerns17/09/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has found that Ardonagh’s completed purchase of Bennetts could lead to higher prices, less choice and worse services for motorcyclists in the UK.
TUI UK to complete refunds by the end of the month16/09/2020 12:25:00
TUI UK has committed to the CMA that customers awaiting their refunds for holidays that were cancelled due to coronavirus will receive them by the end of the month.
Final decision published in window blind merger inquiry15/09/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has decided that Hunter Douglas, owner of online blinds retailer Blinds2Go, must sell the majority of its shares in 247 to protect competition and prevent higher prices.
Digital advertising merger to be abandoned during CMA investigation14/09/2020 13:25:00
Taboola has announced that it is to abandon its proposed purchase of Outbrain.
CMA updates competition law risk guide for managers11/09/2020 09:20:00
An updated guide to competition rules has been issued to help managers, directors and their advisers to stay on the right side of the law.
CMA to assess progress in legal services sector10/09/2020 09:20:00
The CMA is reviewing the legal services sector in England and Wales to assess whether transparency of price, quality and service have improved.