The UK deals watchdog has opened an investigation into the acquisition of General Mills’ European dough business by French bakery giant Cérélia.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today issued an initial enforcement order to stop Cérélia integrating the dough business into the wider group while it decide whether to launch a formal phase one merger inquiry.
Cérélia agreed a deal with General Mills to takeover the division in November last year. The transaction - for an undisclosed sum - included the branded and private label dough businesses in the UK and Ireland and Germany, with the Knack & Back and Jus-Rol brands part of the acquisition.
It is part of General Mills’ ‘Accelerate’ strategy to streamline the group and focus on high-growth brands sucn as Old El Paso, Häagen-Dazs and Nature Valley.
Cérélia is a market leader in the dough category, with a presence in more than 50 countries annual revenues of almost €500m and 1,600 employees across ten production facilities in France, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and the US. It makes a line-up of pie and pizza dough, pancakes and cookies and owns a number of brands, including English bay, Abra-Ca-Debora, Jan, Pop Bakery and Croustipate.
The initial enforcement order issued by the CMA is standard practice when regulators scrutinise takeovers to make sure any ruling to block a deal or enforce remedies is not scuppered by the integration of the businesses.