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Heineken pub offer satisfies watchdog over takeover of Punch Taverns

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A pint of Heineken

A pint of Heineken

A pint of Heineken

Britain's competition watchdog has accepted proposals by Heineken to offload pubs in 33 areas to satisfy antitrust concerns over its £403 million takeover of Punch Taverns.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in June that the deal could impact competition and see drinkers face higher prices in 33 locations.

Before the merger was referred for a further in-depth investigation, the companies were given the opportunity to offer proposals to address concerns.

On Friday, the CMA said: "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 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."

The CMA has previously said the 1,895 Punch pubs being snapped up by Heineken, which it will add to 1,100 leased pubs it already owns across the UK, only account for 4% of the market and are therefore "not a major route to market for brewers".

Heineken sealed its deal last December to snap up Punch Taverns with private equity firm Patron Capital, having fought off a rival bid from the pub chain's co-founder Alan McIntosh with a 180p-per-share offer.

Under the deal, Heineken will buy 1,895 pubs, while Patron will acquire 1,329.