OFT clears B&Q store acquisitions

Published:  08 July, 2011

LONDON: The Office of Fair Trading has cleared Kingfisher's acquisition of 30 former Focus DIY stores. Kingfisher wanted to buy 31 stores, but one branch has since been offered on the open market.

Kingfisher said the stores would be transferred to its B&Q format "as soon as possible". Ian Cheshire, group chief executive at Kingfisher, said approval would pave the way for further investment in local communities.

The £23m cash deal was announced in May after the appointment of administrators at the national DIY chain.

The OFT found in 20 areas the merger did not create competition problems because B&Q was not in the local market. However in the remaining 10 areas, which included Uttoxeter, the OFT investigated whether there was a less anti-competitive alternative to the merger.

After assessing the available evidence the OFT concluded that there was no alternative purchaser, which would result in a less anti-competitive outcome.

Focus went into administration in May after defaulting on its credit facility, blaming a drop in consumer spending and the poor housing market.

Administrators Ernst & Young sold 13 stores to Wickes owner Travis Perkins in an £8.4m deal. A further 11 stores were bought by retailer, B&M.

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