John Meade advised Dawn Meats and Dunbia on the merger control aspects of their merger in 2017. Dawn Meats is a meat processor with headquarters in Grannagh, County Waterford, Ireland whilst Dunbia is a meat processor with headquarters in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Both companies operate in Ireland, the UK and Continental Europe.
The merger involved the acquisition by Dawn Meats of the beef business of Dunbia in Ireland and the establishment of a joint venture to operate the beef and lamb businesses of the two companies in the UK.
The transaction was notified for Merger Control approval to the CCPC in Ireland, the CMA in the UK, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) in Germany and the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) in Holland.
John Meade acted for both Dawn Meats and Dunbia on the Notifications before the CCPC in Dublin and the CMA in London. John worked with German and Dutch law firms which he instructed on behalf of his clients on the Notifications in Germany and Holland.
The transaction was approved in Germany and Holland in mid September 2017. The CCPC and the CMA both announced on 29 September 2017 that they had each approved the transaction under their respective Merger Control regimes. The Irish and UK regulators co-operated with each other on their reviews and with the European Commission. The European Commission was reviewing at the same time an acquisition by another meat processor with operations in Ireland, the UK and internationally, ABP, of a meat processor based in Northern Ireland, Linden Foods. The European Commission also announced on 29 September 2017 that it had approved that transaction under EU Merger Control rules.
The Dawn Meats/Dunbia merger illustrates a number of issues from a Merger Control perspective -
- National Merger Control authorities which review the same transaction will co-operate closely with each other and the European Commission in their review procedures
- This is particularly likely to arise in practice on transactions involving companies based in neighbouring markets such as Ireland and the UK
- This may increase if Brexit increases the number of cross border transactions such as the Dawn Meats/Dunbia merger
John Meade is particularly well placed to advise companies which are involved in transactions which require merger approval in Ireland or the UK. John is one of the most experienced practitioners in Irish Merger Control, having regularly advised companies before the CCPC and its predecessor, the Competition Authority. He also advises companies on the island of Ireland on UK Merger Control and before the CMA. In addition, he advises companies on EU Merger Control in cases which require notification in Brussels.
In all cases, John's approach is to identify and to analyse with the parties the competition and process issues which arise. In the light of that, he develops a strategy to ensure that the most commercial outcome that can be obtained from the regulatory process or processes involved is obtained and in as timely a manner as is possible. This is illustrated by the Dawn Meats/Dunbia merger where regulatory clearances in four Member States were obtained within two weeks of each other without conditions being imposed and the principal clearances in Ireland and the UK were announced on the same day.