Karanovic & Nikolic has assisted Croatia's Agrokor in its successful applications for merger clearance in relation to its combination with Slovenia's Mercator.
The 2013 acquisition of Mercator by Agrokor was conditional upon competition commissions clearance, and the approval of the Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania authorities thus clears the path for the EUR 240 million deal to be finalized.
Agrokor is the largest privately owned company in the former Yugoslavia. It produces and distributes food and beverages, and owns Konzum, Croatia’s leading grocery chain. Mercator is the largest retailer in Slovenia and one of the largest retailers and wholesalers in the region.
Karanovic & Nikolic reports that three out of the eight competition authorities initiated in-depth (Phase II) investigations, marking the first time a single case was scrutinized by so many states simultaneously. Phase II investigations are initiated when authorities consider that a transaction could lead to lessened competition in affected markets. In such investigations, authorities use their investigatory powers to collect information from third parties to assess competition concerns arising from a transaction. In Serbia and Croatia, Agrokor offered to divest several assets to dispel concerns raised by authorities. In all other jurisdictions, the transaction was cleared without conditions.
Karanovic & Nikolic acted as lead advisor on the original deal before obtaining the successful merger clearances. The firm's legal team was headed by Partner Rastko Petakovic.