Competition regulator approved 70 mergers in State in 2016

Watchdog cleared all cases it decided last year but imposed conditions on two

Panda Green’s takeover of Greenstar went to a phase-two investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Panda Green’s takeover of Greenstar went to a phase-two investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

 

Competition regulators ruled on 70 mergers in the Republic in 2016, according to a review published on Friday.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said that 67 mergers were notified to it last year, slightly fewer than in 2015, when it was informed of 78 such transactions.

The commission issued 70 determinations during 2016, clearing all of them, but imposing conditions on two.

Panda Green was required to sell part of the domestic waste collection business it acquired when it bought rival Greenstar.

Private health group Bons Secours agreed not to increase prices for certain procedures as a condition of buying Barringtons Hospital in Limerick.

Among the bigger deals that the commission cleared was the €10 billion Paddy Power Betfair merger, which the Irish bookie notified late in 2015. This was completed in February, creating a multinational with more than €2 billion in turnover.

INM

The commission was notified of five media mergers, including Independent News & Media’s (INM) bids for magazine publisher Greer Publications and the Anglo Celt.

INM’s bid for the paper’s owner, Celtic Media Group, is awaiting approval from the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten. Other media mergers included Liberty Global’s purchase of UTV Ireland.

Philip Andrews, head of law firm McCann Fitzgerald’s competition group, said the pace of mergers in the Republic had cooled while $3.3 trillion worth of takeovers had been completed worldwide.

“At the same time, the number of large Irish mergers and acquisition deals, those big enough to require filings in Brussels, increased from three to four,” he said.

They were British company Hammerson’s purchase of stakes in the Dundrum and Ilac shopping centres in Dublin, Irish Life’s consolidation of health insurers Aviva and GloHealth, and Larry Goodman’s ABP Group’s takeover of meat processor Slaney Foods.