Whitby Seafoods, a leading supplier of scampi, has decided to drop its bid to buy Kilhorne Bay Seafoods, a Northern Ireland-based seafood company. The move comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns that the merger would reduce competition in the scampi market and harm consumers.
Whitby Seafoods, which operates through its subsidiary Kilkeel Seafoods, announced its intention to acquire Kilhorne Bay Seafoods earlier this year. The deal would have given Whitby Seafoods access to new markets in Europe, where Kilhorne Bay Seafoods sells half of its scampi.
The CMA launched the merger review in August and escalated it to a more detailed phase two investigation on October 4. However, Whitby Seafoods decided on October 13 to withdraw its offer. A Whitby Seafoods spokesperson explained “the resources required to engage in a CMA phase 2 investigation are out of all proportion to any potential benefit from the deal.”
The CMA has accepted Whitby Seafoods’ request to cancel the merger and will take no further action.