Heineken offered to make concessions as the UK’s antitrust regulator warned that the company’s planned purchase of 1,900 Punch Taverns pubs could reduce competition, leading to price increases and poorer service.
The Competition and Markets Authority said on Tuesday it had identified 33 local areas where Heineken and Punch pubs would not face sufficient competition after the merger. Heineken must now offer proposals to address these concerns by June 20 or face an in-depth investigation into the merger, the UK regulator said in a statement on its website.
“We are confident we canoffer the CMA suitable undertakings to satisfy their concerns,” Heineken UK Managing Director David Forde said in a statement.
“We have listened very carefully to a range of concerns about this merger,” said Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s acting chief executive. “The companies will own less than 10 percent of all British pubs after any deal, but we are concerned about the loss of competition for pub goers in a number of local area.
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