Bernard Matthews sale competition authority investigation

Bernard Matthews' headquarters at Great Witchingham, Norfolk Image copyright Geograph/Mark Boyer
Image caption Bernard Matthews, which was owned by Rutland Partners, was sold to food tycoon Ranjit Boparan in September

The sale of the Bernard Matthews turkey company is being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to see if the merger will damage competition in the poultry industry.

The company, which was owned by Rutland Partners, was sold to food tycoon Ranjit Boparan in September.

Mr Boparan also owns the 2 Sisters Food Group, which produces about a third of all poultry products eaten in the UK.

The Boparan Private Office has declined to comment on the inquiry.

Bernard Matthews was bought by investment company Rutland Partners in 2013.

The take-over by the Boparan Private Office, Mr Boparan's private investment arm, was done under a deal struck prior to administration, but the sale has left former suppliers unlikely to get back what they are owed.

The CMA said it would be looking at whether the deal would lead to a "substantial lessening of competition" in the UK markets.

While this review takes place, the company has been told to stop any further integration but it will still continue to operate.

Sebastian Chrispin from the BBC's business unit said the CMA has a number of methods at its disposal if it finds the merger is anti-competitive.

"[These range from] blocking the merger, unwinding the transaction, ordering the company to sell bits of its business to competitors, or get the company to promise it will behave in a certain way," he said.

"But they are only things it will deploy if, after this quite intensive review, it finds there is a risk to competition by the merger going ahead."

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