CMA blessing for PepsiCo's purchase of Pipers Crisps

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 25 Feb 2019

Regulators have cleared the way for drinks and snacks giant PepsiCo to buy out northern Lincolnshire’s Pipers Crisps in a multi-million pound deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority has given its blessing to the acquisition, announced back in November. 

It has assessed the impact and found the current brands owned by both parties were not vying for the same customers, and that they would “continue to face sufficient competitive constraint from a number of credible competitors post-merger”.

Under the deal, PepsiCo will buy the entire share capital of Pipers for an undisclosed sum. 

Pipers, headquartered at Elsham, produces, distributes and sells exclusively premium potato crisps under a single brand primarily to UK customers. In the year to January 2018, it turned over £11.4 million, £10.4 million of which was generated in the UK.

PepsiCo, already the market leader with Walkers, is keen to “compete more effectively in the premium potato crisp segment, especially in the away from home channel”.

Pipers enjoys a strong presence in that, but the CMA found it would still represent an incremental increase of less than 10 per cent. It heard how prior to the agreement, PepsiCo had been considering a premium launch in the away from home channel. 

It also found that Pipers’ plans to grow grocery retail market share, and even if successful, it would not have become a close competitor of PepsiCo, with former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, the highly-paid face of its UK presence. One supermarket confirmed to the investigation it had been approached by Pipers, but decided against taking the brand on.

The CMA also heard how Tyrells and Kettle are seen as the main competitors to the Elsham team, where farmers united to launch the brand, initially supplying local pubs, with little mention of top-end Walkers products – Sensations and Market Deli – in documents seen by the regulator.

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