The Competition and Markets Authority is considering a possible probe into Admiral Taverns’ £222m takeover of Hawthorn Leisure.
Hawthorn’s owner, the real estate investment trust NewRiver, announced in July it was selling the business, which has 674 leased and tenanted pubs, to Admiral, a wet-led operator with around 1,000 pubs in England, Wales and Scotland.
However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it is now considering whether to launch an investigation into the deal.
It said it was looking at whether the takeover “has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition”.
The CMA is inviting parties to comment on the competition impact of the deal, with a deadline of October 12. The regulator will then decide whether or not to launch a phase 1 investigation.
A spokesperson from Admiral said: “This is standard practice and expected from the CMA. We look forward to hearing the outcome in due course.”