Antitrust notification for Robinsons’ full takeover of Ministop not needed according to Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)

If you have been living here in the Philippines, have you visited any branch of the Ministop chain of convenience stores lately? Did you notice that the term acquisition was more prominent recently in business news as of late mainly due to the Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard deal?

The point here is that another acquisition happening in the Philippines – Robinsons is set for a full takeover of Ministop (which itself is already majority owned by the said corporation) and an antitrust notification is not needed according to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). This was reported lately by GMA Network news.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said Tuesday Robinsons Supermarket Corp. does not need to notify the antitrust watchdog of its full takeover of the Ministop franchise in the country as the company already has majority control over the convenience store franchise.

“Based on PCC’s merger rules, the Commission acknowledges that Robinsons’ current majority stake in Ministop already affords them control, and Robinsons is no longer required to notify the proposed acquisition to the antitrust commission,” the antitrust body said in a statement.

On Monday, Robinsons Supermarket —a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI)— announced it will acquire the 40% share of Ministop Japan in Robinsons Convenience Stores Inc. (RCSI), effectively taking full ownership of the business.

RCSI is the exclusive franchisee of Ministop in the Philippines, with Robinsons Supermarket Corp. holding a 60% stake in the firm. It will continue to operate the stores with the Ministop brand, within a prescribed transition period agreed upon with the Japanese counterpart.

RRHI said the stores will continue to operate as Ministop until they are repurposed and appropriately rebranded, in consideration of its ready-to-eat offerings such as Uncle John’s Fried Chicken and Kariman.

The PCC said it received reports of Ministop Japan’s sale to Lotte, including its sale of its joint venture stake in the Philippines.

Nikkei Asia reported that the Japanese convenience store operator will sell its South Korean and Philippine businesses, after unloading a Chinese subsidiary in Qingdao.

The PCC, however, noted that it will look into Robinsons’ portfolio in the consumer retail sector which includes supermarkets, department stores, and community malls, among others.

Merger reviews are focused on the effects and changes of market behavior in the hands of new owners or stakeholders,” it said.

“This transaction may result in a change in ownership of a significant portion of equity but it is not likely to have an effect on the economic behavior of the target firm,” it added.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this business development? If you are a regular customer of Ministop, what do you think will happen once the full takeover by Robinsons happens? Do you think that the quality of the customer service and store facilities will improve? When it comes to convenience store competition here in the Philippines, how do you rate Ministop with the likes of 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson? Are you personally attached to Ministop’s branch?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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