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The Danish Competition Council has approved Imerco Holding A/S’ merger with Inspiration A/S subject to commitments

16. August 2017

On 6 February 2017 the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (‘the Authority’) received a complete notification of Imerco Holding A/S’ (‘Imerco Holding’) acquisition of sole control of Inspiration A/S (‘Inspiration’).

Imerco Holding acquires 100% of the shares in Inspiration.

A subsidiary of Imerco Holding, Imerco A/S (‘Imerco’), and Inspiration are both active in the market for retail sale of housing articles, e.g. tabletop, kitchenware, electronic household appliances.

Mergers with horizontal overlaps may significantly impede effective competition through unilateral effects. On the basis of an overall assessment, the Authority considered that the merger would give rise to unilateral effects in the form of (i) higher prices, (ii) small variation in supply/range, and/or (iii) reducing the level of service. The Authority emphasized the following factors: 

  1. The merged entity obtains a significant market position
  2. The parties are very close competitors
  3. The merger gives rise to expected price increases
  4. Customers and competitors in the market are not likely to counteract the loss of competitive pressure between the Parties 

Overall, the Authority considered that the merger would significantly impede effective competition in the Danish market for retail sales of mid-range and high-end housing articles.

However, the Authority did not take a final decision on whether the merger would lead to the risk of coordinated effects in the market due to the fact that the submitted commitments in any case would solve the potential coordinated effects.

Under the commitments the owner of Inspiration, 3C Inspiration, undertakes to keep 20 of the 45 Inspiration shops from the planned merger and run the shops in a new retail chain. 3C Inspiration also undertakes to open a number of new shops. In addition, the companies have offered several behavioural commitments regarding the future operation of the new chain in order to ensure its viability. Among other things, 3C Inspiration has undertaken to invest substantial resources in the marketing of the new retail chain.

The Danish Competition Council assessed that the commitments are sufficient to address the unilateral and possible effects identified by the Authority.

On 16 of August 2017 the Danish Competition Council approved the merger with commitments.

16. August 2017