Blog: Dean BestHain Celestial's remedy to try and get Orchard House deal through

Dean Best | 1 June 2016

Hain Celestial's bid to get the regulatory green light for its bid to buy UK food and beverage group Orchard House Foods has been released this afternoon by the Competition and Markets Authority in London.

Orchard House supplies fresh fruit, patisserie and fruit juice to retailers, convenience stores and the foodservice sector in the UK. Hain Celestial struck a deal to buy the business from Wellness Foods in December.

However, in March, the CMA invited comment from interested parties on the acquisition and, earlier this month, said Hain Celestial had to look again at the transaction.

It is Orchard House's juice assets that have caused the issue. According to the CMA, the companies are the only two suppliers of own-label freshly squeezed fruit juice to supermarket retailers in the UK. Earlier this month, the CMA said there were fears the deal could hit competition in the category.

This afternoon, the CMA said Hain has now offered to sell its own-label, freshly squeezed fruit juice business. The regulator believes the move, or a modified version of it, could be acceptable.

The next step? The CMA will consider Hain Celestial's offer and there will be public consultation on the US group's proposal.

Hain Celestial clearly believes the acquisition of Orchard House is a price worth paying, even if it has to sell off the juice assets.

The company had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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