Woolworths acquisition of The Warehouse Group in New Zealand cleared

On 4 December 2007, the New Zealand High Court released its decision in a major merger battle between Woolworths (the Australian supermarket operator) and the New Zealand Commerce Commission. Woolworths had applied to the Commission for clearance to acquire The Warehouse Group – a major retailer of general merchandise. The Commission had refused clearance. The High Court overturned this decision of the Commerce Commission.

Throughout the application before the Commerce Commission and the hearings before the High Court, Frontier had been retained by Bell Gully (solicitors for Woolworths). During the procedures of the Commission, Frontier undertook extensive empirical analysis of the effects of the 2002 supermarket merger and found that this had little effect on prices of groceries. During the appeal to the High Court, Philip Williams of Frontier (Australia) gave evidence and Bob Bartels and Tim Calkins undertook extra empirical work.

Phil Taylor, Partner, Bell Gully, commented on Frontier’s work: “I have enjoyed working with you and your team and hope to continue to do so into the future. I must say I enjoy the simple way in which you clearly explain quite complex issues. I think that approach makes life easier for everyone and avoids misunderstandings.”

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