Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Press Release -  Clearance of a proposed acquisition

Subject: Approval of the notification of acquisition of sole control by BESPOKE SGA HOLDINGS SA over companies ION SOCIETE ANONYME INDUSTRY AND TRADE OF COCOA AND CHOCOLATE and I. KOTSIOPOULOS BROS SA., according to article 6 par. 1 to 3 of law 3959/2011, in the Greek chocolate products sector.

By its unanimous Decision No. 784/2022, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) approved today, under Greek merger control rules, the proposed acquisition of sole control by the company BESPOKE SGA HOLDINGS over companies ION SOCIETE ANONYME INDUSTRY AND TRADE OF COCOA AND CHOCOLATE and I. KOTSIOPOULOS BROS SA.

This concentration does not have a horizontal or vertical dimension in any relevant market. Given that the acquiring company and the target companies do not have a pre-existing competitive relationship with each other, either as direct competitors or as (potential) customers or suppliers, or in the markets in which the acquiring companies operate, ie in the chocolate products sector. Therefore, there are no affected markets and the concentration in question cannot change the market structure in the relevant markets.

In addition, no conglomerate effects are expected (concerning the heterogeneous activities of the participating companies), as the parties are not active (directly or indirectly) or in closely related neighboring markets (such as markets with complementary products or products purchased from the same set of consumers for the same end use). Specifically, regarding any connection between the confectionery market and the chocolate products market, it is not considered possible to exclude competitors of the new entity, in the confectionery market, through the implementation of group or combined sales practices by BESPOKE taking into account the shares of ION in the markets but also the position and shares of their competitors.

Regarding a minority – non controlling minority shareholding in a large Greek dairy company, and its position as a potential supplier in the downstream chocolate products sub-market, there is no possibility of any adverse effects on competition due to the merger.

Therefore, the HCC approved, according to article 8 par. 3 of law 3959/2011, the notified merger that concerns the change of control, given that, this merger, despite falling within its scope of paragraph 1 of article 6 of law 3959/2011, does not cause serious doubts, as to its compatibility with the requirements of competition in the related markets.

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