On 18 August 2020, the Competition and Market's Authority (CMA) launched its phase 1 investigation into the merger of Marston's brewing business with Carlsberg UK. The joint venture, which was agreed in May but is now on hold, would see the merger of Marston's brewing business with the UK division of Carlsberg, which is the world's fourth-largest brewer. Under the terms of the joint venture, 60 per cent of the newly-created Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company would be controlled by Carlsberg UK, which will be entitled to have its drinks sold in Marston's pubs and bars.
The CMA is assessing whether the joint venture would lead to a 'substantial lessening of competition' in the UK. Interested parties had until 2 September 2020 to submit comments to the CMA on the arrangement. The two companies had initially hoped to complete the transaction by the end of September but this is now unlikely as the deadline for the CMA to decide whether or not to launch a more in-depth phase 2 investigation is 19 October 2020.
We will keep you updated as to the progress of inquiry and if you have any questions relating to this investigation or to the role of the CMA in general, please contact us as we have competition law experts who can help.
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