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NMa refuses license for acquisition of Dutch baking company

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has refused to issue a license for the acquisition of Dutch baking company A.A. ter Beek (with its flagship brand Bolletje) by rival baking company Continental Bakeries. By blocking the acquisition, the NMa prevents that the consumer price of rusk could have gone up.

The acquisition could have resulted in the creation of a very large producer with a market share of 70-80 percent that would have produced private-label rusk as well as the leading Dutch rusk brand Bolletje. According to the NMa, the likelihood that a new rusk producer would enter the Dutch market is little. That means only two producers would remain active in the market for the production of private-label rusk for supermarkets. The NMa believes too little competition would remain after the acquisition. In order to take away that concern Continental Bakeries and A.A. ter Beek proposed to sell a rusk product line to a new competitor. The NMa did not accept this proposal because it remained uncertain whether a new competitor would actually become active on this market, and stay active.