Competition body steps up investigation on Pork Farms/Kerry deal
Published:  06 January, 2015

A phase two investigation has began into the proposed merger of the chilled savoury pastry (CSP) business of Kerry Foods Limited and Pork Farms, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has reported.

In December the CMA announced it would investigate the acquisition of the CSP business by Pork Farms, following concerns that it could form a monopoly in the pork pie market by significantly lessening competition, leading to higher prices or a reduction in choice or quality for consumers.

“As Pork Farms has not offered any undertakings, the CMA will now start an in-depth merger investigation. The CMA must publish its final decision by 21 June 2015,” the CMA reported on its website.

A Pork Farms spokesman said in December: “We are obviously disappointed with the CMA’s decision to refer the transaction to a phase two review.

“We continue to believe the transaction will provide our customers with a streamlined, more responsive and better-invested supply chain, reflecting the increasingly competitive retail landscape that we are seeing in today’s markets as consumers’ shopping habits change.

“We will continue to work closely with the CMA in relation to the transaction to ensure that it has all necessary information to inform the review process.”

A decision on the merger will be made by a group of independent panel members, supported by a case team of CMA staff, the CMA reported.