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Kraft Heinz can reacquire brand names from Mondelez

Date of issue: 16.10.2017

The Bundeskartellamt has allowed The Kraft Heinz Company (Kraft Heinz) to prematurely end the licences which it issued to Mondelez International for use of the brand names "Kraft" and "Bull's Eye" for ketchup and barbecue sauces in Germany and other countries; the clearance also allows Kraft Heinz to acquire further related assets from Mondelez such as domain rights.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "With the re-acquisition of the "Kraft" brand name, Kraft Heinz is expanding its position as the leading manufacturer of ketchup and red sauces, achieving a market share of over 30%. However, Kraft Ketchup accounts for only a small part of this share. According to our investigations, there is still sufficient competitive pressure from other manufacturers active throughout the whole of Germany and also from companies with a regional focus, some of which achieve significant market shares in their regions. As several de-listings of Kraft Heinz products and their replacement with ketchup products of other suppliers have recently shown, the food retail sector, in particular also discounters, still have sufficient alternative ketchup suppliers." 

The two companies were created when Kraft Foods was split up in 2012 into two separate businesses. The North American food business was given the name Kraft Foods and the confectionary and snacks business the new name Mondelez. It was agreed at the time that Mondelez acquire inter alia the licence rights to use the brand name Kraft Ketchup in Germany and other countries for a ten year period. In the run-up to the merger between Kraft and Heinz in 2015 it was agreed with Mondelez to reduce the term of the licence for Kraft Ketchup to five years, i.e. up to 31 December 2017. The licences for "Kraft" ketchup and "Bull's Eye Sauces" are now to revert at the earliest possible date to Kraft Heinz.

The Bundeskartellamt has formally examined the reacquisition of the trademark rights as an acquisition of assets and control. The acquisition of the other assets was examined as an acquisition of control.

Press release (pdf)

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