In December 2017, the FCCA approved the acquisition of Restel Hotellit Oy by Scandic Hotels Oy subject to conditions. The FCCA decided to initiate further proceedings concerning the acquisition in August 2017, and, at the FCCA’s request, the Market Court extended the processing time for the case until 5 December 2017. Without the extension, the FCCA’s time limit for investigating the acquisition would have expired on 24 November 2017.
According to the findings of the FCCA investigations, the acquisition affected competition in the accommodation market negatively in Pori, Lahti, Kuopio, Lappeenranta and Vantaa. The hotel market in these cities was already highly consolidated, and the acquisition would only have consolidated it further. The removal of the competitive pressure caused by Restel would probably have led to increases in the prices of both the consolidated group of hotels and its competitors.
For corporate customers, the removal of Restel’s hotels from the market meant a reduction in the number of potential contracting partners from three to two, because smaller hotel chains, independent hotels, or other forms of accommodation, such as Airbnb, are not comparable with national hotel chains as possible contracting partners.
As a condition for the approval of the acquisition, the FCCA obliged Scandic to sell one hotel in Pori, Lahti and Kuopio to its competitors. Scandic also committed to not purchasing back the sold hotels. In addition, Scandic undertook not to acquire two new hotels planned for Lappeenranta and two planned for Vantaa.