Earlier this month the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Heineken’s proposed acquisition of 1,900 Punch pubs had the potential to reduce competition in 33 areas across Britain, which “could lead to price increases or a deterioration in the quality of the service on offer”.
Before the merger was referred for a further in-depth investigation, the companies were given the opportunity to offer proposals to address these concerns.
Heineken has since offered to sell pubs in each of the affected areas, which the CMA has decided are “reasonable grounds for believing that these proposals, or a modified version of them, might be acceptable to remedy the competition concerns it has identified”.
In response, a spokesperson for Heineken said: “We welcome confirmation from the CMA that only a small number of pubs are required to be sold.
“It’s a sensible outcome and good news for pubgoers across the UK who will see the benefit of well-invested pubs in their communities.”
The number of pubs to be sold has not yet been confirmed.
The CMA has until 22 August 2017 to consider whether to accept the undertakings, although it may decide to extend this deadline to 17 October 2017 if it decides there are “special reasons” for doing so, it said.
As part of its process, the CMA will undertake a public consultation.
If the CMA does not accept the undertakings proposed, the merger will be referred for an in-depth investigation.
The full text of the decisions, including details of the areas affected, will be published shortly on the investigation case page.