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Luxembourg brewery deal needs EU antitrust approval, regulator says

Published 03/15/2024, 01:12 PM
Updated 03/15/2024, 01:37 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman//File Photo

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - 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 said on Friday.

The European Commission said it was using its power under Article 22 of EU 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.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman//File Photo

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 (NASDAQ:QCOM) was told last year to seek EU approval for its takeover of Israeli auto-chip maker Autotalks and Deutsche Boerse (ETR:DB1Gn)'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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