Rod Addy Wholesalers are worried that Walkers' acquisition of Golden Wonder's Wotsits brand and van sales operation will pose a significant threat to their business. The deal was cleared by the Office of Fair Trading this week. But many wholesalers are still concerned that it gives Walkers too large a share of the salty snacks market. They claim it will enable the company to cut wholesalers' prices and possibly bypass them altogether by selling direct to retailers. Rodney Hunt, md of The Today's Group, said: "We would frown on any operation that was trying to bypass our wholesalers and deal directly with the retailer. It's our opinion that approximately 250 vans couldn't service the independent retail sector, but it could do damage within specific geographical regions, which is of concern." Peter Lowrie, md of Lowries, a key Landmark member, said: "We potentially see the deal as a significant threat to wholesalers. It could undermine a market we've grown and developed in partnership with suppliers, and the possibility of having it taken away is galling." Lowrie said the acquisitions were one of the key issues being discussed at the Landmark conference taking place in Berlin this week. Walkers would not comment. The OFT also cleared the acquisition of Golden Wonder by Longulf, owner of own label bagged snacks maker Snack Factory. Golden Wonder and Snack Factory will be merged and Longulf will get all Golden Wonder's brands except Wotsits. Paul Monk will be chief executive of the new Golden Wonder. He said that the deal would strengthen Golden Wonder's relationship with wholesalers. "They need to recognise the role they play in balancing competition within the market. "We want to work closely with them. They need to consider who's working with them, rather than against them, to maximise profits." Monk said there was great potential for developing Golden Wonder brands, especially Nik Naks and Wheat Crunchies, as well as Snack Factory brands after the merger. And he said it would strengthen Golden Wonder's position in own label. Monk said that the deal would be finalised on July 29. {{NEWS }}