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Pernod's Allied Domecq acquisition Investigated

Media Release

Issued 1 May 2006/127

Commission investigating Pernod Ricard’s acquisition of Allied Domecq

The Commission has opened an investigation under section 47 of the Commerce Act into the acquisition by Pernod Ricard S.A. of Allied Domecq plc. This acquisition was completed on 26 July 2005. The investigation will consider the competitive implications of Pernod Ricard retaining assets that are subject to divestment undertakings.

On 13 July 2005, the Commission gave clearance to this acquisition subject to Pernod Ricard’s voluntary offer to divest itself of the Lindauer, Aquila, Italiano, Chardon and Chasseur brands. Pernod Ricard would lose the benefit of this clearance decision if the divestment undertakings are not completed.

Background

Under section 47 of the Commerce Act a person must not acquire assets of a business or shares if the acquisition would have, or would be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

Acquiring parties may apply for clearance from the Commission if they are in doubt as to whether a proposed acquisition might contravene section 47. This clearance regime is voluntary. When clearance is not sought, or an acquisition is not completed in line with a clearance decision, it is open to the Commission and to third parties to challenge the acquisition in the courts if it appears to contravene section 47.

In Decision 553, the Commission cleared Pernod Ricard to acquire the entire share capital of Allied Domecq subject to divestment undertakings. A public version of this decision is available on the Commission’s website, www.comcom.govt.nz under Public Registers.

ENDS

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