24 July 2007
Book wholesaling deal gets provisional clearance
The UK Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally given unconditional clearance to the completed acquisition by Woolworths Group plc of the Bertram Group Limited. Although the OFT was concerned that the merger would give rise to a "3 to 2" in the wholesaling of new books to independent retailers, the CC has provisionally cleared the deal on the basis of competition from Gardners (the largest wholesaler) and from direct supply (i.e. publishers and their primary distributors) - both factors meant that the merged firm could not profitably reduce discounts and service to independent booksellers. RBB has advised Woolworths during the CC investigation, working with lawyers Freshfields.