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Slovak regulator bans takeover of Carrefour stores by Tesco

Slovakia's antitrust regulator banned Tesco Plc's planned purchase of stores owned by Carrefour SA, saying the British retailer would control too much of the Slovakian market.

The transaction, which is part of a broader deal under which the two retailers agreed to swap stores in three countries, was rejected December 29, the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office in Bratislava said in an e-mailed statement today. Under the swap, Tesco will get 11 stores in the Czech Republic and four in Slovakia, while Paris-based Carrefour SA will gain six hypermarkets in Taiwan. Slovakia's watchdog in June adjourned review of the transaction and asked Tesco Plc, the country's largest retailer by sales which is seeking to boost its presence in eastern Europe, to propose remedies eliminating potential problems.
„Tesco would not be exposed to relevant competition and with regard to its economic power it could behave independently in relation to suppliers, consumers and competitors,” the office said. „Conditions and duties proposed by Tesco did not resolve and could not remove the competition problems identified by the office.” Other terms of the store-swap were cleared by the European Commission December 22, 2005. The commission, which acts as an antitrust regulator in the 27-nation European Union, handed the review of the Slovak part of the transaction to the Slovak authorities after being requested to do so. (Bloomberg)