ACCC blocks Woolies take over bid

A WOOLWORTHS' proposal to take over three hardware stores in Ballarat will not go ahead, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission opposed the acquisition on the grounds it would substantially lessen competition in the region.

The failed bid was the latest in a series of efforts by the nation's largest grocery retailer to take over regional grocery, liquor and hardware outlets.

A joint venture by Woolworths and Victoria partner Lowe's, the takeover would have bought out three independent hardware stores in Ballarat.

It would also have strengthened the company's position in the region, after Woolworths secured a site to open a Masters store near Ballarat.

The Masters brand was Woolworths' main effort to compete directly with Australian hardware giant Bunnings.