The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has referred the anticipated joint venture between Arçelik A.Ş. (via Ardutch B.V.) and Whirlpool Corporation (via Whirlpool EMEA Holdings LLC) for an in-depth investigation on the basis that, on the information currently available to it, it is or may be the case that this transaction could result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets within the UK.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the decision for a Phase 2 investigation was taken after the parties informed the regulator they would not offer any undertakings towards addressing any potential substantial lessening of competition within the UK due to the deal.
The deal between Whirlpool Corporation and Arçelik, the parent company of Beko and Grundig, to form a major domestic appliance business, was announced in January of this year. At the time, the companies said that the new entity would have combined sales of over €6billion and 'will be well-positioned to deliver value to consumers through attractive brands, sustainable manufacturing, product innovation, and consumer services'.
The CMA has warned that if the deal were to go ahead, the merged company would be the UK's largest individual supplier of washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and cooking appliances.
Sorcha O’Carroll, CMA senior director of mergers, said: "The proposed deal will combine 2 major providers of home appliances in the UK, meaning that well-known brands such as Hotpoint, Indesit and Beko will sit under one owner. We’re worried that this could reduce the choice of suppliers available to retailers and ultimately to shoppers."
Pictured from left to right: Fatih Kemal Ebiçlioğlu, consumer durables group president of Koç Holding; Marc Bitzer, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool Corporation; Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO of Arçelik.