The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an inquiry into the proposed joint venture between Carlsberg UK and independent brewing and pub retailing business Marston’s.
The inquiry follows a referral by the European Commission.
The regulator has invited comments from concerned parties as it opened the initial Phase-1 investigation. The deadline to submit comments is 2 September.
The watchdog is expected to announce its Phase-1 decision by 19 October.
Announced in May this year, the new Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company boasts a portfolio of international, national and regional beer brands, with Carlsberg famous for iconic lager and world beer brands, and Marston’s, for its premium cask and packaged ales, including Hobgoblin, Wainwright, Marston’s Pedigree and 61 Deep.
Carlsberg UK will be the majority shareholder in the company, owning 60 per cent of the equity. Marston’s will hold the remaining shares.
The company will have assets including Carlsberg UK’s Northampton brewery, London Fields brewery, and national distribution centre; and Marston’s six national and regional breweries – Marston’s, Banks’s, Wychwood, Jennings, Ringwood and Eagle – and 11 distribution depots.
It will also have access to Marston’s pub estate for its beer portfolio which is enshrined through a strategic, long-term supply and distribution agreement.