July 12, 2016 / 10:30 AM / 2 years ago

German court halts Edeka takeover of Kaiser's chain

FRANKFURT, July 12 (Reuters) - A German court on Tuesday has nullified a government decision to allow the country’s biggest supermarket group Edeka to buy grocery store chain Kaiser’s, owned by retail group Tengelmann, the court said in a statement.

Germany’s economy ministry had granted special permission for the merger on the condition that no jobs were lost, but the higher regional court of Duesseldorf said the decision was void as protecting workers was not equivalent to the public interest.

The court raised questions about Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s “bias and a lack of neutrality” in the case, saying he had held secret discussion during the decision making process.

Germany’s federal cartel office stopped the planned deal between the unlisted retailers last year, saying the takeover would limit competition in big cities such as Berlin and Munich and could lead to price increases in Europe’s biggest economy. (Reporting by Tina Bellon, editing by Emma Thomasson)

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