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AUS: ACCC approves Asahi's P&N Beverages buy

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said it will not oppose Asahi Group's fresh bid to acquire P&N Beverages. 

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Last month, Asahi entered into a fresh agreement to purchase P&N Beverages, in a JPY16.3bn (US$202m) deal that was revised to satisfy Australia's competition watchdog.

The ACCC had earlier raised concerns that the acquisition would remove P&N as "a vigorous and effective competitor" in carbonated soft drinks and cordial.

As a result, Asahi agreed to sell P&N's CSD and cordial businesses to Tru Blu Beverages (TBB), which will result in Asahi acquiring only the water and juice businesses of P&N.

The ACCC's chairman, Rod Sims, said today (12 August): "Taking into account the divestiture and that it will occur simultaneously with the acquisition of P&N, the ACCC is satisfied that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition."

As part of the deal, Asahi must divest all manufacturing facilities, production equipment, brands, personnel, intellectual property rights and other assets related to P&N's cordial and CSD business. Asahi must also transfer certain production lines from its existing Schweppes subsidiary to TBB, as well as provide interim contract packing services to TBB.

The ACCC said that TBB needs to be "an ongoing viable and effective independent competitor" in the CSD and cordial markets.

Asahi expects to complete the P&N deal in September.


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