Construction Enquirer Launch of detailed Competition and Market Authority probe derails takeover

Global construction machinery auctioneer Richie Bros has abandoned plans to buy rival Euro Auctions.

The auctioneer has called off the agreed £775m take-over deal after the UK Competition and Markets Authority said it would launch a detailed phase 2 investigation into the planned takeover’s impact on competition.

A CMA initial investigation found that the companies had a very high market share in the supply of auction services for construction machinery, with Euro Auctions being the clear market leader and Ritchie Bros the second largest provider in the UK.

The CMA also found that other auction providers were significantly smaller and other methods of sale like marketplaces, listing websites and dealers did not compete with the companies on any meaningful level.

Richie said it did not believe there was any realistic prospect for approval by the CMA on acceptable terms given the significant concerns raised by the CMA to date.

Ann Fandozzi, Ritchie chief executive officer, said: “We are disappointed by the decision taken by the CMA to refer the proposed acquisition to a Phase 2 review and respectfully disagree with their views.

“While we believe the proposed acquisition would have accelerated our strategy, we remain committed to forging ahead in our transformational journey to become the trusted global marketplace for insights, services and transaction solutions.

“We will continue to seek out and execute on organic investments and key acquisitions to accelerate our pace in achieving our ultimate vision.”

Euro Auctions founder and director Derek Keys said: “Euro Auctions would like to thank all its customers and suppliers and in particular its employees for their continued loyalty and looks forward to a new and exciting future together as an independent company.

“The focus continues to be on the expansion and growth of the business.”

Euro Auctions was founded in Dromore in 1998 by Keys and his brothers.

Under the terms of the deal, Keys had planned to remain with the business for at least three years.

In accounts for 2020, Euro Auctions parent Gardrum Holdings reported turnover of £145.6m and pre-tax profits of £28.4m.

 

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