On 29 September 2008, Kerry Group plc announced its intention to mount an Irish High Court appeal to the decision by the Competition Authority to block its purchase of Breeo Foods Limited and Breeo Brands Limited.
This followed an announcement on 29 August 2008 by the Authority that, following a Phase 2 investigation, it would prohibit the proposed acquisition on competition grounds. The Authority's investigation determined that the transaction would substantially lessen competition in the markets for the production, supply and distribution of rashers, non-poultry cooked meats and processed cheese in the State.
The prohibition marks just the third time in almost six years (when the Authority obtained sole jurisdiction over most mergers) that a proposed merger has been blocked by the Authority, and the first time under the current merger control regime that one of its determinations will be challenged before the Irish Courts.
The case is interesting in terms of the level of econometric analysis and the discussion on econometrics. The case is also interesting in terms of the narrow product markets which were drawn by the Authority in terms of various types of breakfast foods.