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Business Groups Urge Australian Watchdog To Block Woolworths’ PFD Deal

 |  February 3, 2021

Small business groups are urging the competition regulator to block Woolworths’ proposed acquisition of family-run PFD Food Services.

In a letter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) seen by SmartCompany, five food service and retail industry organisations have called on the regulator to stop the AU$552 million (US$421.7 million) merger, which they say will boost “the already unfair” market power held by the supermarket giant.

The merger would see Woolworths Group acquire 65% of PFD Food Services. The Smith family would retain 35% of its shareholding and continue to operate as a standalone business while partnering with Woolworths.

Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) chief executive Peter Strong signed the letter, noting the acquisition would result in a distribution chain “dominated” by a Woolworths-owned entity, which would inhibit small businesses along the supply chain.

“At the moment, we have a more diverse distribution system, which means the smaller players get to have a business model that works for them,” Strong told SmartCompany.

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