The Philippine Competition Commission said Tuesday it has not yet received a notification from Union Bank of the Philippines on its planned acquisition of Citibank’s consumer banking unit in the country.
The antitrust body said it also did not receive any notice from Century Pacific Food Inc. on its planned takeover of Ligo Sardines and Potato Corner. PCC is responsible for reviewing mergers and acquisitions that breached the thresholds provided under the law, which could prevent, restrict or lessen competition in the market for goods or services.
Given its latest P50-billion threshold qualification, PCC encouraged the parties to conduct due diligence to check if they meet the thresholds for compulsory notification, or to steer clear of any competition issues by undergoing voluntary notification in case they do not meet the thresholds.
The PCC, amid the pandemic, allowed parties to file their notifications before consummation, and waived the usual notification period of 30 days upon signing of definitive agreement.
Transactions of this nature may very well indicate the outset for economic recovery or post-pandemic restructuring, the commission said.
It said that while change of ownership of well-known brands would mean efficiency or expansion for former competitors into partners, this could also mean that consumers may be faced with fewer choices and possible changes of price points.
It said that as the antitrust authority, its merger reviews would ensure that the transactions do not lead to substantial lessening of competition in the relevant markets.
UnionBank earlier signed a share and business transfer agreement with several subsidiaries of Citigroup Inc. to acquire Citi’s consumer banking business in the Philippines. The transaction includes Citi’s credit card, personal loans, wealth management and retail deposit businesses. The acquisition also includes Citi’s real estate interests such as Citibank Square in Eastwood, three full service bank branches, five wealth centers and two bank branch lites. Othel V. Campos
Meanwhile, the Po family announced two significant acquisitions to further expand and strengthen its canned food manufacturing and restaurant businesses amid the pandemic.
Century Pacific Food Inc., a listed firm led by the Po family, said it acquired ‘Ligo’, a leading brand in the sardine category from the Tung family, while Shakey’s Pizza Ventures Inc. bought Potato Corner, one of the leading food kiosk brands co-founded by businessman Jose Magsaysay Jr.