Brussels, 12 May 2011
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of British automotive repair company Speedy (Kwik-Fit) by Itochu of Japan
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Speedy 1 Limited by Itochu Corporation. Both companies are active in automotive repair and replacement services as well as in the wholesale supply of replacement tyres to repair service providers. 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.
Itochu is a holding company which is engaged in a broad range of industries, including automotive repair and replacement services, and through its subsidiary Stapleton, wholesale supply of replacement tyres in particular in the UK, but also in other Member States.
Speedy is the holding company of Kwik-Fit Group Limited, which is mainly active in automotive repair and replacement services in the UK, The Netherlands and France. In addition, Speedy operates wholesalers of replacement tyres in Belgium and The Netherlands.
The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that Itochu and Speedy together have only a limited market presence on the markets for automotive repair and replacement services and the wholesale supply of replacement tyres.
In addition, the Commission concluded that the combination of Itochu's activities in the wholesale supply of replacement tyres and Speedy's activities in automotive repair and replacement services would not lead to shutting out competitors because a sufficient number of alternative suppliers exist from which the procurement of tyres would still be possible after the acquisition.
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 Article 1 of the Merger Regulation). The Commission clears the vast majority of mergers without conditions and only requires remedies or prohibits mergers when the notified transaction would lead to a significant impediment to competition and make consumers worse off.
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 transaction was notified to the Commission on 1 April 2011. Further information on the case will be available at: