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FB roundup: Heineken, Michael Hill, and JAB Holdings

By Alexandra Newlove

Heineken takeover approved

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved Heineken's takeover of 1,900 pubs, saying it is satisfied the deal will not cause customers to “lose out”.

The Netherlands-based brewer proposed in June a £403 million ($516 million) purchase of the pubs, currently owned by Punch Taverns, a deal Punch shareholders approved in February.

The CMA then raised concerns about reduced competition in 33 UK areas.

But before the merger was referred for further investigation, Heineken was given the opportunity to offer solutions. The beer giant won over the authority by saying it would sell some of its existing pubs to competitors.

“Before reaching a final decision, the CMA carefully assessed and consulted publicly on these proposed undertakings,” the authority said.

Heineken, controlled by the eponymous family, was ranked 468th on the 2017 Fortune Global 500 with revenues of $23 billion. It will own just under 10% of British pubs after the takeover.

Michael Hill profits boosted by Canada

International jewellery chain Michael Hill has posted a shiny end-of-year result, with net profit up 67% to $32.6 million AUD ($25.7 million).

Founded by the eponymous New Zealander in 1979 and now chaired by his daughter, Emma Hill, the Australia-listed jewellery chain saw sales rise 5.8% to $460 million as it opened 26 new stores in the year ending June 2017. Same-store sales were up 1.6%.

The Canadian business was a standout, with an 18% increase in sales, though this was tarnished by performance in the US, where revenue fell nearly 9%. Michael Hill closed one of its ten US stores due to poor performance, costing $650,000, and impaired another of its US locations by $667,000.

Its spin-off chain Emma & Roe saw same-store sales decline 2.1%. Nonetheless the company opened 13 more Emma & Roe shops across its empire during FY 2016/17, saying it saw the brand as “new and evolving”.

JAB Holdings to cast off Bally

JAB Holdings is ramping up its bid to dispose of luxury fashion brands, putting leather goods maker Bally up for sale, just months after it sold the infamous Jimmy Choo label.

Owned by the German billionaire Reimann family, JAB was stripping away the fashion assets that had formerly been a flagship part of its portfolio, as it shifted focus towards food and beverage.

Bloomberg reported the group had sent out marketing materials to potential buyers, requesting bids by mid-September. It reported sources close to the company expected the brand to sell for about $700 million.

JAB has grown into one of the world's largest coffee sellers. Since 2012 it has spent more than $40 billion taking over Keurig Green Mountain, Peet's Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and in July, Panera for $7.5 billion. In the same month it sold Jimmy Choo to Michael Kors for $1.2 billion.

The 166-year-old Bally brand is best known for its shoes and bags, most notably its Sommet design. The remaining notable brand in JAB's luxury fashion portfolio is British outerwear maker Belstaff.

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