The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred the completed acquisition of a frozen food manufacturing business to the Competition Commission (CC).

Kerry Foods Limited acquired the frozen ready meals business of Headland Foods Limited in January 2011. Before the acquisition, according to the OFT, the parties were the two largest suppliers of frozen ready meals to UK retail customers. During the OFT’s investigation, almost all of the parties' main customers told the OFT that they had been concerned about a price rise that followed the merger (which the OFT attributed partially, but not totally, to an increase in raw material costs) and that there was no alternative large-scale manufacturer that supplied to supermarkets.

The CC expects to report by late December 2011.