Agrokor Requests Competition Approval for Mercator Acquisition

Agrokor buys MerkatorCroatian conglomerate Agrokor submitted a notification of concentration to the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency on Friday, less than a month after it agreed to acquire a majority stake in retailer Mercator.

The competition watchdog has 25 business days to decide on the motion. If it determines that the takeover would limit competition on the Slovenian market, it can give Agrokor 60 days to take appropriate measures, the agency’s boss Andrej Krašek told the STA.

Agrokor is not expected to have major problems securing the go-ahead in Slovenia, but it will face bigger challenges in Croatia, where its retail arm Konzum, which is not present in Slovenia, is Mercator’s direct competitor.

The Croatian Competition Protection Agency confirmed this week it had received Agrokor’s notification and said Agrokor will have to shut down some retail locations, in particular in and around Zagreb.

Agrokor agreed to acquire 53% of Mercator from a consortium of shareholders under an agreement signed on 14 June. It will pay EUR 120 per share or EUR 240m total.

If the deal is cleared by the competition authorities, it will have to publish a takeover bid for the outstanding Mercator stock, which would cost it about EUR 200m.

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