The UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, has launched an investigation into the impact Hain Celestial’s acquisition of Orchard House Foods will have on competition in the market. 

The CMA started “phase one” of its probe yesterday (17 March), when it initiated a consultation period inviting comment from relevant parties. The comment period closes on 4 April. 

“The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,” the authority said in a statement. 

A deadline of 17 May has been set for the CMA’s phase one decision. 

Hain Celestial announced that it had struck a deal to acquire the fruit juice and fruit dessert firm Orchard House from Wellness Foods in December last year. The agreement was pending competition approval. 

Orchard House supplies fresh fruit, patisserie and fruit juice to retailers, convenience stores and the foodservice sector in the UK. At the time of the announcement, Hain said it anticipates approximately US$60-65m in net sales and modest accretion to its earnings from Orchard House in the US group’s 2015/2016 financial year, which runs to the end of June. 

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