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ACCC reviews a Master plan

Masters Home Improvement, the Woolworths’ joint venture with US company Lowe’s, is seeking regulatory approval to buy three hardware stores in the Victorian town of Ballarat. Sources: The Australian, The Ballarat Courier

The three stores are owned by private company G Gay & Co and trade under the Home Timber and Hardware banner controlled by the Masters-owned hardware wholesaler Danks.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has raised concerns over the potential for the deal to reduce competition in the Ballarat market.

The ACCC said Masters planned to open a big-box store in the Ballarat suburb of Wendouree, which would give it four out of the six retail hardware stores in Ballarat.

Mr Gay of G Gay & Co told The Ballarat Courier that he disagreed with the ACCC and said that Ballarat also had Whiteheads Timber Sales and Robert Sim Building Supplies which the ACCC had not considered.

The ACCC has called for submissions from stakeholders and plans to announce a decision on July 5 2012.