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Court grants interim stay on Warehouse judgment

19 December 2007, No 82

Court grants interim stay on Warehouse judgment

The High Court in Wellington has granted the Commerce Commission an interim stay of the High Court's judgment, which cleared the way for the three Foodstuffs co-operatives or Woolworths Ltd to acquire up to 100% shares in, or assets of, The Warehouse Group Ltd.

Yesterday the Commission filed an application for leave to appeal the High Court judgment of Justice Mallon, and sought a stay of the judgment pending the determination of any appeals.

Following a hearing today, the court issued the stay, which is in place until the outcome of a further hearing on 29 January which will consider the Commission's application for a stay until the matter is finally decided, and for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Commission will make no further comment, pending the January hearing.

Background The Commission declined clearance for either the three Foodstuffs co-operatives or Woolworths Ltd to acquire up to 100% shares in, or assets of, The Warehouse Group Ltd. because New Zealand's supermarket retail market is already highly concentrated. There are high barriers to entry in the industry, and the Commission considers that the Warehouse is uniquely placed to compete with the supermarkets because of its existing property portfolio, extensive distribution networks and established brand.

In November the High Court, on appeal by Foodstuffs and Woolworths, overturned the Commission's decision to decline clearance for either potential acquisition.

ENDS

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