Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) appealed against a ruling that had dismissed its earlier move to block the deal and cleared wholesaler Metcash to buy Franklins in an A$215m (US$203.9m) deal.
However, Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson yesterday (20 September) announced that there was no reason to delay the sale until a ruling from an appeals court, clearing the way for Metcash and Pick n Pay to complete the deal by a 30 September deadline.
The ACCC will still appeal at a three day hearing to be held on 24 October.
“The ACCC remains committed to the appeal process,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said today.
“To that end the ACCC welcomes the court’s order expediting the appeal hearing. A speedy resolution will be in the best interests of all the parties.”
The ACCC is opposed to the deal between Franklins and Metcash on competition grounds, stating that it would “result in a substantial lessening of competition through the removal of Metcash’s closest and only genuine competitor for the wholesale supply of packaged groceries in New South Wales”.