Heineken acquisition scrutinized

EC says says decision on Cruzcampo SA deal up to Spanish

Aug 18, 1999 - The deal that would boost Dutch brewer Heineken's share of the Spanish beer market will come under additional scrutiny in the coming months. The European Commission has referred the planned acquisition of Spanish rival Cruzcampo SA to Spanish authorities, saying they can better decide if there are any competition problems.


Spanish authorities first contacted the EC because they fear that the deal could lead to the creation of a dominant position in the country's beer market. The EC, though, indicated that Spanish are in a better position to assess the effects of the proposed deal.

Heineken plans to take control of Cruzcampo through a complicated transaction which involves Danish rival Carlsberg selling its 10.5% stake in the Spanish firm to British firm Diageo. Diageo would in turn hand the whole company, of which it already has 88%, to Heineken.

Cruzcampo accounts for a quarter of beer sold in Spain, the third-largest beer market in the European Union. Heineken, based in Holland, already owns a majority stake in that country's No. 3 brewer, El Aguila.

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