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IP/11/238

Brussels, 28 February 2011

Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of the UK hotel operator Kew Green by Bank of Scotland and Barclays Bank

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control of Kew Green Hotels Limited (Kew Green) by Bank of Scotland plc, ultimately controlled by Lloyds Banking Group plc (LBG) and Barclays Bank plc (Barclays), all of the UK. 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.

Barclays and LBG are financial services providers. LBG also holds interests in several companies active in the hotel sector. Kew Green operates 21 hotels across the UK under brand franchise.

The transaction results in a horizontal overlap on the market for hotel accommodation in the UK. The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlap between the parties' activities is however limited and that a large number of competitors are active on this market.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission, in 1989, was given the power to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Art 1 of the Merger Regulation). The Commission clears the vast majority of mergers without conditions and only accepts remedies or prohibits mergers when the notified transaction would lead to a significant impediment to competition and make consumers worse off. The EU merger rules therefore allow competitive companies to grow into European or global players.

From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

The operation was notified to the Commission on 24 January 2011

Further information relating to this case is available at:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/mergers/cases/index/m83.html#m_6058


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