EU clears Warren Buffett's takeover of Heinz

PHOTO: EU clears Warren Buffett's takeover of Heinz

BRUSSELS - The European Commission cleared Monday the US$28-billion (S$35.3-billion) takeover of iconic US ketchup maker Heinz by billionaire Warren Buffett's investment powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian-led 3G Capital.

The Commission said a probe found that the deal, which sees the 144-year-old HJ Heinz come under the control of one of the world's canniest investors, would have no impact on competition in the European market for cold sauces and quick-service restaurants.

"The proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the presence of credible competitors," it said in a statement.

Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital said the deal was the largest-ever food company takeover when announced in February.

Buffett, founder and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, said at the time that Heinz had "strong, sustainable growth potential based on high quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management and great tasting products.

"Their global success is a testament to the power of investing behind strong brand equities and the strength of their management team and processes."

Heinz posted global sales of US$11.6 billion last year, led by its iconic ketchup brand alongside one of its original products, canned baked beans.