Royal Unibrew allowed to acquire Hansa Borg subject to conditions

The Norwegian Competition Authority has approved Royal Unibrew’s acquisition of Hansa Borg subject to conditions. The acquisition cannot be implented before Royal Unibrew has terminated certain agreements concerning the distribution and sale of cider and flavoured alcoholic beverages, so called FAB, in Norway.

Hansa Borg and Royal Unibrew are the two largest suppliers of cider and FAB in the Norwegian grocery market. The two companies have several well-known brands, for example “Grevens”.

– The acquisition would have made Hansa Borg and Royal Unibrew the largest supplier of cider and FAB to the grocery market. The Authority was concerned that the acquisition could lead to increased prices on these products, says Deputy Director Beate Berrefjord.

Remedies proposed
The Competition Authority is tasked with assessing whether mergers and acquisitions will lead to restrictions of competition. In March 2022, the Authority informed the parties that it was concerned about the part of the acquisition that is related to the sale of cider and FAB to the grocery market. Following the Authority’s concerns, the parties decided to propose remedies.

– It has, among other things, been important for the Authority that the parties have agreed to ensure that the transfer of the products at issue to a new distributor will be carried out in a way that preserves the brand’s market position, says economist and Project Manager Signe Abrahamsen.

Timeline of the case

1 February 2022: Notification of Royal Unibrew’s acquisition of Hansa Borg

8 March 2022: Statement of Objections informing the parties that the acquisition could be blocked

12 April 2022: Remedies proposed

21 April 2022: Revised remedies proposed

10 May 2022: Final remedies proposed

13 May 2022: Decision

Retail worker filling shelf with drinks in grocery store or customer taking can of beer or soda. Staff at supermarket stocking shelf with alcohol or doing inventory. Woman buying liquor in shop.

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