Boparan Holdings has agreed to sell a Christmas pudding manufacturing business in order to remedy competition concerns over its acquisition of RF Brookes and Avana Bakeries from Premier Foods.
The Office of Fair Trading had initially found that the deal would bring together the two largest suppliers of Christmas puddings in the UK - Boparan also owns the Matthew Walker Christmas pud business - and that the loss of competition arising from the Avana deal could lead to price rises for consumers.
Boparan acquired Avana and chilled goods business RF Brookes from Premier Foods in December 2011 in a £30m deal. Boparan offered to sell off the Avana pudding business to an OFT-approved company as part of the deal. Sargents Bakeries, which makes fruit tarts, pies and mince pies, was selected and approved. The OFT has accepted the divestment, and will therefore not refer the merger to the Competition Commission.
Amelia Fletcher, chief economist at the OFT, said: “Following a consultation, and having carefully assessed the financial position and commitment of the purchaser, Sargents, we are satisfied that this divestment will ensure there continues to be effective competition in this market.”