The proposed takeover by Stilton maker Long Clawson Dairy of Dairy Crest’s speciality cheese arm will be investigated by competition authorities, it has emerged.

The Office of Fair Trading this week referred the deal, first announced in August, to the  Competition Commission. If the deal, worth around £3.5m, is cleared by the commission, it would make Long Clawson the largest maker of stilton in the UK.

The OFT said the deal would give Long Clawson more than 50% of the UK market for the blue cheese.

A decision may not be reached until March next year.

In August The Grocer reported that the sale by Dairy Crest was likely to result in the closure of its Hartington creamery.