US food company Heinz has announced that the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred its acquisition of HP Foods to the Competition Commission for further review.

Heinz completed its £470m (US$835.3m) acquisition of HP Foods from French group Danone on 16 August. The transaction included brands such as Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, HP sauces and a licence to market Amoy Asian sauces brands in Europe.

“Heinz will cooperate fully with the Competition Commission as it reviews the merits of our acquisition of HP Foods,” said Jane Miller, president of Heinz UK & Ireland.

“It is not unusual for acquisitions of this magnitude to be referred to the Competition Commission to ensure that any potential concerns are addressed. Heinz is confident that this acquisition will meet the criteria for final clearance. This deal has already received approval from the merger authorities in Ireland and Germany,” Miller added.

The Competition Commission is expected to issue its report by 11 April 2006.

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