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Drinks

Luxembourg Brewery Deal Needs EU Antitrust Approval, Regulator Says

By Reuters
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Luxembourg Brewery Deal Needs EU Antitrust Approval, Regulator Says

Luxembourg's largest brewery Brasserie Nationale must seek EU approval to acquire Luxembourg wholesale drinks distributor Boissons Heintz following a request from that country's competition agency, EU antitrust regulators have said.

The European Commission said it was using its power under Article 22 of European Union merger rules that allows it to examine deals that are below the revenue threshold but could affect trade between EU countries or significantly affect competition in the EU country that requests it to examine the deal.

The EU competition watchdog cited the importance of drinks imports in Luxembourg and that the deal will combine the two main wholesale drinks distributors in the Grand Duchy.

Article 22

This is the Commission's fourth deal to be assessed under Article 22, which it can use to address concerns over what are known as killer acquisitions in which big companies acquire innovative start-ups only to shut them down.

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm was told last year to seek EU approval for its takeover of Israeli auto-chip maker Autotalks and Deutsche Boerse's European Energy Exchange (EEX) for its acquisition of Nasdaq's European power trading and clearing business as part of Article 22 scrutiny.

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According to Article 22 guidance, merging parties have the option to proactively provide information regarding their planned transactions (paragraph 24). In such instances, the Commission may offer an early indication if it believes that a concentration would not be suitable for referral under Article 22 of the Merger Regulation, provided there is adequate information to make a preliminary assessment.

Additional reporting by ESM

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