Antitrust commissioner Ronit Kan is cleaning up the mess left behind by her predecessor, Dror Strum. The anti-competition charges against Super-Sol chief executive Efi Rosenhaus don't date from December 2008, when the chain launched Mega-Bool. The problem was in 2005, when the Antitrust Authority agreed to let Super-Sol bid to buy Clubmarket. Now Super-Sol is suspected of shaking off the limitations it accepted at the time.
Super-Sol is suspected of forcing suppliers who had given discounts to Mega-Bool to give it discounts, too. Or else, it threatened, it would take their products off the shelves. As Israel's biggest retailer, Super-Sol's threat was significant.
Super-Sol paid more than NIS 800 million for Clubmarket, which nobody thought was worth half that amount. Suppliers who had thought their money was gone, were dazzled.
What Super-Sol actually bought was market share. It was already the No. 1 retailer in Israel but paid NIS 800 million to leave Blue Square even farther in the rear, and it wanted that in order to improve its terms of trade. The suppliers knew what they were in for, but they also realized it paid for them to support the Clubmarket takeover in order to get their money from the buyer of the bankrupt chain. Most of Israel's retailers tend to the belligerent, but Super-Sol may have gone too far.
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