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Planned acquisition of FACO by Holland Pharma requires further investigation

The acquisition of wholesale company FACO by rival Holland Pharma has not been cleared yet. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) wishes to carry out a further investigation into the planned acquisition’s possible effects on the wholesale market first. Both Holland Pharma and FACO are wholesale companies that trade in drugstore items, and that supply their own drugstore chains (including franchisees) as well as independent drugstores, supermarkets, pharmacies, and online stores. Holland Pharma owns drugstore chain DA, and FACO owns drugstore chain D.I.O.

Sufficient competition in the retail market

ACM has not identified any anticompetitive concerns over competition between sellers of drugstore items to consumers. After the planned acquisition, consumers will continue to have sufficient options for purchasing drugstore items. In addition to DA and D.I.O., consumers can also, for example, go to drugstore chains Etos, Trekpleister and Kruidvat, as well as to supermarkets and online stores.

Further investigation into the wholesale market

As a result of the planned acquisition, Holland Pharma will have such a position in the wholesale market for drugstore items that competition may be significantly restricted. ACM wishes to carry out a further investigation into whether the other wholesalers are able to exert enough counterpressure on Holland Pharma/FACO. ACM also wishes to examine whether the robust competitive environment at the retail level is able to prevent a merged Holland Pharma/FACO from raising its wholesale prices or from reducing its terms and conditions.

Follow-up steps

If its wishes to go through with its acquisition of FACO, Holland Pharma will have to apply for a license with ACM. Once the license application has been received, ACM will have thirteen weeks to complete its follow-up investigation.