The Irish High Court overturns an NCA merger decision, finding the determination vitiated by material error in two respects, with particular focus on the significance of countervailing buyer power (Rye Investments)

On 19th March, 2009, the Irish High Court annulled the decision of the Irish Competition Authority (“ICA”) to block Kerry Group's proposed acquisition of one its major competitors, Breeo Foods. Kerry's acquisition of Breeo was notified to the ICA in March 2008. The proposal affected a number of consumer food products in the breakfast meats, sliced cooked meats and spreads categories, and concerned some very familiar Irish consumer brands, such as Denny, Galtee, Dairygold and Low-Low. During the ICA's five month review of the merger, the notifying parties argued that despite the seemingly high market share that would result from the merger, there was sufficient Countervailing Buyer Power (“CVBP”) in the groceries sector to dissuade and defeat any attempts by the merged entity to raise

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Patrick O'Brien, The Irish High Court overturns an NCA merger decision, finding the determination vitiated by material error in two respects, with particular focus on the significance of countervailing buyer power (Rye Investments), 19 March 2009, e-Competitions March 2009, Art. N° 32783

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