Woolworths’ and Lowe’s acquisition of Danks will go ahead after clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC approved the proposed deal after accepting court enforceable undertakings from the joint venture parties.
Woolworths and its joint venture partner Lowe's plan to develop a network of company-owned 'big box' home improvement stores as part of the joint venture’s entry into the hardware sector, in competition with other retailers including Bunnings.
The ACCC had concerns about the effect of the proposed acquisition on competition between hardware retailers. In particular, the ACCC was concerned that the joint venture could discriminate against some of its wholesale customers, namely hardware retailers supplied by Danks, who would also be its retail competitors.
"With these undertakings in place the ACCC considers the proposed acquisition unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said on Wednesday.
"The undertakings importantly impose requirements that will lower barriers that independent hardware stores supplied by Danks otherwise faced in switching to alternative suppliers,” he said.