Premier’s £1.2bn proposed takeover of RHM was approved by The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on 5 February.

The OFT announced that the acquisition, which would make Premier the UK’s biggest food producer with combined sales with RHM of around £2.6 billion per year, would not be referred to the Competition Commission. "We very much welcome this decision and look forward to completing the acquisition, anticipated to be in the middle of March," said John McIvor, RHM’s director of investor relations and industry strategy.

A decision of the Irish Competition Authority on the acquisition is expected to be announced on 9 February. McIvor said that he did not want to speculate on the outcome but added: "We take great comfort from the OFT’s decision."

Both companies have called an EGM on 15 February and the deal is expected to finalise on 16 March 2007.

The OFT invited written representations about any competition or public interest issues raised by the deal towards the end of last year (see British Baker, 15 December, 2006, pg 12).