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Premier Foods, Mitsubishi Deal Needs U.K. Review, EU Says

May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Premier Foods Plc’s plan to sell its canned-food business to Mitsubishi Corp.’s Princes unit for 182 million pounds ($300 million) should be reviewed by the U.K.’s antitrust regulator, the European Union said.

The U.K. Office of Fair Trading is “best placed to examine the case,” the Brussels-based European Commission, which handles merger probes for the 27-nation EU, said in a decision published on its website today.

The London-based OFT was already aware of the EU’s decision and on April 12 began seeking third-party comments on the deal, spokesman Frank Shepherd said in an interview today. The U.K. watchdog plans to make a decision by June 16.

Premier, based in St. Albans, England, proposed the sale on Feb. 8, saying in a statement the canned-food business wasn’t “an area of focus” and that cash proceeds would be used to pay debt. The unit had sales last year of 334 million pounds and employs about 1,600 people at two plants and two warehouses in the U.K., the company said.

Premier Foods spokesman Tom Eckersley didn’t immediately comment when reached today by phone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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