On the 19 March, the Irish High Court overturned the Irish Competition Authority's prohibition of Kerry's proposed acquisition of Breeo. These are two Irish food companies.

It was only the third merger which had been prohibited by the Authority out of almost 500 notifications in the last five years.

This was the first appeal to the High Court of a prohibition decision.

The case was heard by Judge John Cooke who has returned from the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

The Authority had found that the proposed merger would "substantially lessen competition" in three product markets: processed cheese; rashers; and non-poultry cooked meats. But the High Court overturned prohibition on grounds of unsound market definition in relation to cheese. He also overturned the prohibition because the Authority had under-estimated the potential for the supermarket chains to constrain the post-merger rashers and cooked meats brands as a result of "countervailing purchaser power".

The Authority may decide to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court. The Authority's analysis may be upheld by the Supreme Court so the matter is not yet over.

While the verdict was delivered today, the judgment has not yet been handed down and once available, it will be analysed in A&L Goodbody's next EU & Competition Law Newsletter.