Antitrust Law Daily EC approves Total Produce’s acquisition of Dole with Swedish divestment
Monday, July 30, 2018

EC approves Total Produce’s acquisition of Dole with Swedish divestment

By Matt Pavich, J.D.

The European Commission has approved the acquisition by Total Produce of Dole, conditional only on the divestment of Dole’s bagged salad business in Sweden. The acquisition was approved under EU Merger Regulation, the EC announced today.

Both companies supply bagged salads and other fresh fruit and vegetables. Total Produce, headquartered in Ireland is a leading European Union fresh produce distributor in the EU, while Dole, headquartered in Germany, produces, markets, and distributes fresh fruit and vegetables both in the EU and across the world. Both companies own production facilities for bagged salads in Sweden. The EC initiated an investigation after the parties notified the Commission of the transaction on June 11, 2018.

Investigation. During the course of its investigation, the Commission looked at the effects of the proposed transaction on competition in the EU markets for bagged salads, bananas, pineapples and other fresh fruit and vegetables. Its findings raised concerns that, as originally constituted, the merger could have reduced competition in the Swedish market for bagged salads, as only one other competitor, Salico, would have remained as a significant competitor. The investigation found no other areas of concern.

Remedies. The parties, in order to address the Commission’s concerns, agreed to divest Saba Fresh Cuts AB, Dole’s bagged salads business in Sweden. This removed the entirety of the overlap between the companies’ business activities in the Swedish bagged salad market. The Commission then found that the modified transaction no longer raised competition concerns. Its approval is conditional on full compliance by the parties.

Companies: Dole; Total Produce; Salico; Saba Fresh Cuts AB

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