Stonegate takeover of EI Group raises local concerns, CMA says
The Competition and Markets Authority said on Friday that Stonegate’s proposed £1.3bn takeover of pub chain EI Group raises competition concerns at a local level.
The watchdog said the proposed merger could result in "a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom".
However, its findings did not raise any concerns at a national level. EI and Stonegate will now need to address the CMA’s concerns or the merger will be referred for a phase 2 investigation.
EI said in a statement that both it and Stonegate were confident they can put forward remedies to enable the deal to be approved without a phase 2 referral.
"Our expectation remains that the transaction will complete in the first quarter of 2020," it said, adding that further announcements will be made in due course.
EI and Slug and Lettuce owner Stonegate will now have until Friday 13 December to submit their proposals to the CMA.
At 0926 GMT, EI shares were up 0.4% at 283.20p.