Breweries and Distilleries

CMA launches probe into Marston’s and Carlsberg merger

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced it has launched a phase 1 investigation into the proposed merger of Marston’s brewing business with Carlsberg UK.

It comes following the European Commission’s decision to refer the case to the United Kingdom and it invites comments on the transaction from any interested party.

The investigation will focus on whether the deal “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

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The joint venture, which was announced in May, would see Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company offer a portfolio of international, national and regional beer brands, with Carlsberg lager and world beer brands, and Marston’s cask and packaged ales.

Carlsberg UK and Marston’s will be the sole stakeholders in Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, with Carlsberg UK being the majority shareholder, owning 60% of the equity.

The deal is thought to be worth around £780m and was originally set to be completed in Q3 this year. However, it was delayed when the CMA revealed it had began a review of the deal in July.

At the time Marston’s said: “As stated previously, we do not expect that the transaction raises any competition concerns and are satisfied that the group has sufficient liquidity in place to meet its requirements ahead of completion.”

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