Brussels, 1 October 2010
Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of French retailer Picard by Lion Capital
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of sole control over Picard Groupe, which operates a retail distribution network for frozen food in France, by Lion Capital LLP, a UK private equity investor. One of Lion Capital's portfolio companies, Findus, is active in the supply of frozen food to the retail sector. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Picard is a retailer of frozen food through a network of specialised shops ("freezer centres") under the Picard brand mostly in France.
Lion Capital is a private equity investor. It controls among others Findus, a UK based company that supplies frozen food to retailers under the Findus brand. Findus produces a wide range of frozen fish and seafood products, ready meals and frozen vegetables across the EEA.
The two companies are active at different levels of the supply chain and, therefore, the proposed transaction does not result in any horizontal overlaps. However, a vertical link does exist as Findus is a potential supplier to Picard. , As their respective market share on the upstream and downstream market is modest, the Commission also found no indications that Findus and Picard would have the ability or incentive to shut out competitors on the retail or manufacturing sectors. Moreover, there remain sufficient alternative suppliers of frozen food. .
The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise any competition concerns.
The Commission received the complete notification of the proposed transaction on 27 August 2010. More information on the case is available at: