European Commission - Press release
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Dutch online retailer Flevo by Ahold
Brussels, 7 May 2012 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Flevo Deelnemingen III B.V. by Koninklijke Ahold N.V., both of the Netherlands. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because of the limited combined market presence of the parties.
The parties' activities overlap in the online retail of books, toys, games, music and films in the Netherlands, where Flevo is active via its subsidiary bol.com and Ahold via its online forum albert.nl.
The Commission's investigation found that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns in these markets because of the limited combined market presence of the parties and the small addition in market share resulting from the transaction as well as the presence of sufficient strong competitors on the markets concerned.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 27 March 2012.
Companies and products
Ahold is the Dutch parent company of an international group of quality supermarkets based in Europe and the United States. In the Netherlands, Ahold is active via its supermarket chain Albert Hein, speciality stores for retail trade in health and beauty care products (Etos), and wine and liquor (Gall & Gall), as well as via its online forum albert.nl with regard to products of all of these brands.
Flevo is a Dutch holding company active via bol.com in the online retailing of books, e-books, DVDs, toys, music, games, software, consumer electronics, home appliances and computers. Flevo is active in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. 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).