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U.K. questions NBTY acquisition

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The U.K. trade regulator says NBTY's acquisition of natural food and ingredients retailer Julian Graves potentially could hinder competition in the nuts, seeds and dried fruit market, and referred the deal for review to its Competition Commission. Because NBTY owns Holland & Barrett, the leading U.K. health food products retailer, the Office of Fair Trading said March 20 it did not receive "sufficient evidence" that other retailers currently adequately constrain NBTY's influence on competition in this area. NBTY and Julian Graves also overlap in vitamins, minerals and supplements sales, but OFT ruled out competition concerns because Julian Graves "sells only limited quantities." Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based NBTY, which is acquiring Julian Graves through its NBTY Europe subsidiary for approximately $25 million, said it expects the commission's decision by Sept. 3 (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 22, 2008, p. 14)

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