Italy regulator ‘blocks Forno d’Asolo, Sammontana merger’

Rome: Italy’s competition authority has reportedly blocked the merger of ice-cream maker Sammontana with frozen baked goods company Forno d’Asolo.

Widely reported in the Italian media, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) is concerned the deal will hinder competition in the marketplace and has consequently suspended the transaction, pending further investigation.

The merger was announced in February in a joint statement from the Bagnoli family, the owners of Sammontana, and the London-headquartered investment group InvestIndustrial.

InvestIndustrial said the transaction would be conducted via its Frozen Investments fund to combine Sammontana with the FdA Group, or Forno d’Asolo. Together, they would buy Forno d’Asolo from private-equity firm BC Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The Bagnoli family, InvestIndustrial and the management team would own 100% of the new group.

However, the AGCM reportedly issued a circular on 6 May ordering the “immediate suspension” of the deal, according to local media, with the competition regulator giving the parties five days to respond to its concerns.