Turkey merger given all clear

The merger of Bernard Matthews and Lincs Turkeys has been cleared by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and will not be referred to the Competition Commission.

Bernard Matthews acquired Lincs Turkeys in May and the OFT had feared that, as a result, it might have too large a share of the turkey market leading to a significant lessening of competition.

Bernard Matthews is the UK’s largest turkey producer and Lincs Turkeys is the third.

The OFT said it estimated that, with the acquisition, Bernard Matthews could have between 25% and 35% of the market for fresh seasonal whole turkeys and crowns, and between 55% and 65% of the frozen seasonal whole birds and crowns market.

However Bernard Matthews was successfully able to argue that the merger would not lead to a substantial lessening of competition because the companies were not in fact close competitors and that the combined businesses would still be constrained by imports of turkeys from abroad.