Heineken’s takeover of Punch Taverns has been given the go ahead and will not face an in-depth probe after the brewer addressed competition concerns.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was satisfied that its concerns have been addressed after 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.
The CMA had said the proposed purchase could reduce competition in 33 areas if the deal went ahead.
Heineken announced in December last year it planned to buy Punch along with Patron Capital, a private equity firm, for £409m, or £1.78bn once Punch’s debt is taken into account.
The Dutch brewing giant will buy 1,895 Punch pubs, while Patron Capital will buy the remaining 1,329 pubs in the Punch estate.
“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,” the CMA said in a statement.
“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 2 investigation,” it added.
The deal will make Heineken the country’s third-largest operator after Greene King and Enterprise Inns, as it already owns 1,100 pubs in Britain.