Metcash is free to buy Franklins now the ACCC has thrown in the towel

Metcash is free to buy Franklins now the ACCC has thrown in the towel

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has abandoned its bid to halt Metcash's acquisition of rival retailer Franklins.

The ACCC said yesterday (5 December) that it would accept the Australian Federal Court's decision to throw out the watchdog's latest appeal against the takeover.

On Wednesday (30 November), the Australian Federal Court dismissed the ACCC's third and latest appeal against the A$215m (US$220.5m) takeover. The watchdog had claimed the deal would result in "a substantial lessening of competition" in the wholesale supply of packaged groceries to retailers in New South Wales.

However, the ACCC has decided not to appeal again. "The ACCC has carefully reviewed the Full Federal Court's decision in the Metcash matter and decided that it will not seek special leave to appeal to the High Court," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

After the Federal Court ruling, Metcash chief Andrew Reitzer welcomed the decision. He said the acquisition of Franklins from South African retailer Pick n Pay would enhance, rather than stifle, competition in the Australian retail sector.