UK competition watchdog looks at Grieg Shetland sale

Grieg Seafood Shetland

The UK Competition and Markets Authority is looking at Scottish Sea Farms’ proposed acquisition of Grieg Seafoods’ Shetland business.

The CMA is calling for views to help it decide “whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

Respondents have been asked to submit their views on the transaction by 3 November.

In June this year it was confirmed that Grieg had agreed to sell its Shetland subsidiary, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK, to Scottish Sea Farms for NOK 1.9 billion (£164m), following months of speculation about a possible sale.

Scottish Sea Farms is itself jointly owned by Lerøy Seafood Group and SalMar.

The CMA launched its merger inquiry today (20 October) and is committed to announcing by 15 December whether it has determined that the merger results in a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition – this is “Phase 1” of the inquiry process.

If it decides there is such a risk, the CMA has a duty to launch an in-depth assessment (Phase 2), although merging parties may offer to modify aspects of the transaction to “remedy” any competition concerns identified.