The European Commission has given the go-ahead for to a deal that will see the Champagne house Taittinger become jointly controlled by CNP, the financial holding company controlled by the Belgian baron Albert Frère, and by the sole owner to date, the Taittinger family.

The planned merger involves the Compagnie Nationale à Portefeuille (CNP) acquiring joint control of Taittinger, which is currently controlled exclusively by members of the Taittinger family.

Taittinger is renowned for its Champagne of the same name. But, in addition to trading in wine (Saumur and Loire wines Ernest Irroy, Samazeuilh, Saint-Evremond, Bouvet-Ladubay) and spirits, Taittinger also has interests in the hotel business (Envergure and Concorde groups) and the luxury goods sector (Baccarat crystalware and Annick Goutal perfumes).

The operation, notified to the Commission on 13 September for approval under the Merger Regulation, will result in overlaps in wine production and sales, since CNP has controlling interests in Bordeaux Saint-Emilion, Sauternes and Pomerol wines. It also involves vertical integration between Annick Goutal perfumes and the Belgian distribution chain Planet Parfum.

The Commission has, however, concluded that "CNP and Taittinger play only a minor role on the wine production and sales markets".