The acquisition of Aoste and Marcassou by What’s Cooking? (Ter Beke‘s new name) threatens to fall through. The auditorate of the Belgian competition authority does not approve.
A year and a half ago, the then Ter Beke announced that it wanted to acquire Imperial Meat and Stegeman, the Benelux subsidiaries of Mexican Sigma. It would mean a major consolidation move in the charcuterie business, as Ter Beke (called What’s Cooking? since a few months) is already the market leader in Belgium while Imperial Meat is number two with Marcassou and Aoste.
It is precisely this market position that does not please the Belgian competition watchdog. The auditorate of the Belgian antitrust authority does not want to give the takeover the green light. Admittedly, this does not mean that the plans are off the table yet, as the Belgian Competition Authority has yet to make a final decision later. The auditorate’s opinion is not binding in this respect. The Dutch part of the acquisition has not yet been judged either.
What’s Cooking? already defends itself against the auditorate and submits a written rebuttal. Especially for private label products, there would be a lot of international competition, which the competition watchdog is not currently taking into account. Meanwhile, What’s Cooking? itself wants to become less dependent on the stagnating meat market: by 2030, at least 15% of its turnover should come from vegetarian or plant-based products.