Interbrew-Bass decision month away
British office plans two round of public comment
June 6, 2001 - Belgian brewer Interbrew must wait until next month to discover whether the British government will again demand the sale of Bass Brewers' U.K. operations. The Office of Fair Trading said Wednesday that interested parties have until June 20 to comment on potential remedies to the competition worries raised by Interbrew's £2.3 billion purchase of Bass last year.
When that process is complete, the OFT will come up with its own proposal for a new solution, which will then be open to comment. This period will last until July. Only then will the OFT make a formal recommendation to the trade and industry secretary on what to do to ensure that Interbrew does not wield too much power in the U.K. beer market.
Stephen Byers, the trade and industry secretary, told Interbrew in January that it must sell Bass Brewers' operations in the U.K., including brands such as Carling, Tennent's, Worthington and Caffrey's. After Interbrew requested a judicial review, a High Court judge overturned that ruling on procedural grounds last month. A judge said the commission had acted unfairly by not giving Interbrew enough chance to comment on an alternative plan.
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