Fresh produce and prepared foods group Geest has confirmed that Bakkavor Invest has received clearance from the Office of Fair Trading in respect of its proposed acquisition of Geest.

Court hearings on Geest's petition to sanction the scheme and to confirm the reduction of Geest's share capital are expected to take place on 10 May and 13 May respectively. Subject to the scheme receiving the sanction and confirmation of the Court on those dates, the effective date of the Scheme is expected to be 13 May and consideration due to shareholders is expected to be sent by 27 May.

"Together we believe we have the strength to open up new opportunities in existing and new markets both in the UK and overseas," said Agust Gudmundsson, executive chairman of Bakkavor, when the deal was first announced in March. "We look forward to working with Geest."

"We believe that Bakkavor's proposal represents good value for our shareholders
and we are recommending it," said Geest CEO Gareth Voyle. "The food retailing market has changed dramatically in the last two years and, whilst Geest is well positioned, there is no doubt that price competition will continue to dominate the day-to-day grocery trade."