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BreadTalk Group gets regulatory nod for its buyout of Food Junction

MAINBOARD-listed food and beverage player BreadTalk Group has obtained regulatory approval for its buyout of food operator Food Junction, paving the way for the group to become the third-largest food-court operator in Singapore.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said it had found that the combined market share of the parties post-merger remains below 20 per cent. This puts the market share "considerably lower" than those of the larger food court operators such as NTUC Kopitiam and Koufu.

The CCCS said that the merged entity may instead be able to "better compete" with the other larger food court operators post-merger.

BreadTalk Group will operate the third-largest food-court chain in the city-state following the acquisition, behind the NTUC Foodfare-Kopitiam partnership and Koufu.

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Food Junction has 15 outlets in Singapore and Malaysia, with one more to open in Johor in early 2020. BreadTalk Group runs 16 food courts under Food Republic brand on both sides of the Causeway.

The acquisition, through BreadTalk Group's subsidiary Topwin Investment, had set the investing public abuzz with its S$80 million price tag when the buyout was announced in early September.

The deal will be paid in cash - funded through BreadTalk’s internal resources, including available cash on hand, and debt facilities.

Apart from Malaysia and Singapore, BreadTalk Group also operates food courts in countries including Thailand, Cambodia and China under the Food Republic brand.

BreadTalk Group shares closed flat at S$0.60 on Tuesday, before the announcement was made by the competition watchdog.