The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today announced that it will not be opposing Endeavour Group’s proposed acquisition of the Rye Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, despite expressing concerns about competition earlier this year.

ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway explained why the ACCC did not intend to oppose the acquisition of the Rye Hotel, which includes a hotel, accommodation and adjoining drive-through liquor store trading under the Thirsty Camel brand.

“The ACCC did not have any concerns in relation to accommodation, gaming or meals, given the number of competitors in the area offering these services and Endeavour’s limited presence in these local markets.

“However, we did give close consideration to whether this proposed acquisition would lead to a substantial increase in local market concentration in liquor retailing.”

In its assessment, the ACCC considered whether the acquisition would have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the market. Despite Endeavour already operating BWS Rye and several stores in neighbouring towns, the ACCC found that unique circumstances meant it was unlikely to substantially lessen competition.

It was decided by the ACCC that consumers would still have access to different promotions, pricing, ranges and service offerings in the local area, including at two nearby Thirsty Camel stores, Peninsula Cellars and Tootgarook Fine Wine Cellars.

“The Rye Hotel drive-through does not appear to strongly compete on price or range, and mostly attracts customers because of the convenience of its drive-through service,” added Ridgeway.

“The ACCC will continue to closely consider consolidation in local markets, particularly acquisitions that occur within a pattern of serial acquisitions.”

The ACCC also concluded that Endeavour’s acquisition of the Rye Hotel was not likely to reduce the competitiveness of other stores operating under the Thirsty Camel brand, or weaken the overall strength of independent wholesalers.

A spokesperson for Endeavour says that the group have embraced the positive outcome.

“Endeavour Group welcomes today’s announcement that the ACCC will not oppose its proposed acquisition of the Rye Hotel and its attached drive-through bottle shop.

“The Rye Hotel is a well-established, premium venue, popular with families, locals and tourists alike. It is an iconic pub and an important part of the local community, located right on the Rye foreshore. It boasts a bistro, sports bar, conference and function spaces, live entertainment, and premium accommodation.

“We know many Victorians will hold fond memories of summers spent at the Rye Hotel, we look forward to working with the team and local community to maintain the fantastic qualities that make the Rye Hotel so well-loved today.”

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