MAJOR supermarket chains across the country will be turning green over the news that the competition watchdog has given the green light to Woolworths' acquisition of organic supermarket operator Macro Life.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced yesterday that the acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the retail and wholesale organic food and grocery markets.
It is not yet known who will advise Woolworths on the merger, but Clayton Utz acted for the fresh food giant on its $380 million acquisition of Victorian pub owner Taverner in 2005.
Worthworths was also under the scrutiny of the ACCC in March last year, when the watchdog inconclusively ended an investigation into its "green" credentials.
At the time, the ACCC followed up concerns about the labelling of Woolworths Select tissue products, and claims about the sustainability of the fibre used.
But now the fresh food people can move on the "green" agenda, and align itself with the organic-range Macro Wholefoods stores.
Woolworths will acquire Macro's organic supermarkets at Crows Nest, Hornsby and Mona Vale in NSW, and Richmond, Black Rock, Glen Waverley and Armadale in Victoria, and a store in Port Melbourne that Macro leased but never opened.
Macro's Bondi Junction store will be sold separately to an independent organic retailer, About Life.
The ACCC also found that if the acquisition did not proceed, Macro was unlikely to operate as a strong competitive force in future due to its declining financial position.
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