Greene King Acquisition of Spirit

In June 2015, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) accepted a plan for the proposed combined group to sell 16 pubs to pave the way for the anticipated acquisition by Greene King plc of Spirit Pub Company plc, both pub companies in the UK. The CMA indicated that these undertakings would satisfy its concerns about a potential substantial lessening of competition in 16 areas, and that as a result it would not refer the transaction to an in-depth phase II investigation. Compass Lexecon provided economic insight on the risk assessment of the publicly announced proposed acquisition by Greene King of Spirit. Our analyses included market definition, local overlap analysis, survey analysis and the assessment of various remedies. The analysis was complicated by the lack of recent precedents, the unique nature of the pub market, and an unclear market definition which needed to be informed by survey evidence. The Compass Lexecon team including Scott Holbrook, Manuel Mertel Morillo, Hyung-Joong Kim and Neil Dryden worked with Bertrand Louveaux from Slaughter and May (counsel to Spirit) and with Paula Riedel from Linklaters (counsel to Greene King).