The Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the proposed merger between Wal-Mart Stores, Inc and Massmart Holdings Limited be approved without conditions. In terms of a non-binding proposal, Wal-Mart intends to acquire a 51% majority interest in Massmart. While Wal-Mart operates retail stores in various formats globally, it sells no products and provides no retail services in South Africa. Massmart is involved in the wholesale and retail of groceries, liquor and general merchandise in South Africa and other African countries.

During its investigation, the commission received a number of submissions from interested third parties (including the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Forum) on the likely effects on the merger. These third parties raised concerns relating mainly to the public interest impact of the merger on local suppliers, as well as the effects of the merger on employment. The commission is of the view that the proposed transaction will give rise to no significant competition or public interest concerns.

The tribunal hearing has been set down for March 22 to 25 2011.

For further information on this topic please contact Desmond Rudman at Webber Wentzel by telephone (+27 11 530 5000), fax (+27 11 530 5111) or email ([email protected]).