PARIS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - France’s competition watchdog said on Tuesday it had been asked by the European Commission to review the planned sale of Nestle’s Davigel frozen food unit to food service operator Brakes Group, owned by buyout fund Bain Capital.
“The Commission considered that the French authority was best placed to review this deal in view of its national impact and the experience the authority has in the sector,” the French watchdog said in a statement.
In April, the world’s largest packaged food maker said it was in exclusive talks to sell Davigel to Brakes Group as part of a drive to trim its sprawling portfolio.
The French competition authority said it would review the impact of the deal on the frozen food and ice cream “out of home” retail markets, where the two companies are “simultaneously present in France”.
Davigel, which supplies frozen and chilled meals and ice cream to restaurants and hospitals, was part of the Buitoni frozen food business Nestle bought in 1989.
For Brakes, whose brands include Freshfayre and M&J Seafood, the deal would increase its presence in France, and allow it to enter Belgium and Spain. It would notably give it exclusive rights to distribute Nestle’s branded ice cream to the “out-of-home” market, a category which includes restaurants in France.
Nestle could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in Zurich; Editing by James Regan)