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Court gives Metcash green light in Franklins takeover

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has had an interim application to block Metcash from proceeding with its acquisition of Franklins rejected by the Federal Court.

According to Sky News, Justice Peter Jacobsen dismissed the ACCC’s application to hold the Franklins purchase until its appeal has been heard between 24 and 27 October.

“The interlocutory application brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be dismissed,” the court said.

The move comes after the ACCC lost its case against Metcash acquiring the South African owned retailer in the Federal Court last month, and after the watchdog went on to lodge an appeal of the decision.

Metcash responded to the ACCC’s appeal by saying it considered itself free to complete the $215 mllion acquisition, and was planning to do so. On September 12, in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange it said that “it will consider itself free to agree with Pick n Pay to waive the condition requiring ACCC approval and to complete the acquisition of the issued shares…”

Consumer groups have welcomed the takeover, with Choice Spokeswoman Ingrid Just suggesting last month it could make Metcash and its network of independent grocery retailers a real competitor to the Woolworths/Coles duopoly.

“What there really needs to be is more competition in this sector, so at the end of the day if Metcash is able to provide an alternative to the two big players that can compete on the product range, on the price, on the customer service level and convenience, then the consumers will have greater choice.”