THE COMPETITION WATCHDOG has given the go-ahead for the sale of half of landmark Dublin store Arnotts.
Two companies – one called Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and the other called Wittington Investments Limited – together want to acquire 50 per cent of the giant shop by buying some of its loans from Ulster Bank and IBRC.
Wittington is the holding company for a group which owns luxury shops around the world, including Selfridges in the UK and Brown Thomas in Ireland.
In a statement last night, the Competition Authority said it had carried out an “intensive and extended” investigation into whether the acquisition of Arnotts would have an adverse effect on the market.
As well as speaking to competitors and suppliers, the Competition Authority also carried out a survey of 500 customers to get their thoughts on the proposed sale.
“Based on the evidence and information obtained through this investigation, the Authority has formed the view that the proposed transaction will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in any markets for goods or services in the State,” the Competition Authority said in a statement.
Arnotts has been in the control of IBRC and RBS since 2010, after it emerged that the store owed approximately €300 million to the banks.