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RCC: Rustan’s trademark not part of Gokongwei acquisition

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RUSTAN Commercial Corp. (RCC) will retain the ownership of the Rustan’s trademark and trade name in light of the Gokongwei group’s acquisition of the supermarket business previously owned by the Tantoco family.

In a statement, RCC said the Rustan trademark and trade name was “never a part” of the P18-billion deal that will allow Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. to take over supermarket operator Rustan Supercenters, Inc. (RSCI).

The Tantoco family used to own RSCI, but eventually sold the business to the Dairy Farm group.

RCC explained that Dairy Farm had the contractual right to use the Rustan’s trademark and trade name from its first acquisition in 2012 due to its sizeable shareholding in RSCI, but the contract was effective for only five years beginning in 2012. It was terminated on April 3.

“We did not issue a termination notice earlier because there were active ongoing negotiations between us and the Dairy Farm Group for the renewal of the contract to use the Rustan trademark and trade name,” RCC said.

The Tantoco-led firm reiterated that the Rustan’s trademark and trade name are “owned solely by Rustan Commercial Corp. and the use by any third party thereof requires the prior written consent of Rustan Commercial Corp.”

RCC issued the clarification on the heels of RRHI’s planned takeover of RSCI from Mulgrave Corp. B.V., a wholly owned unit of the Dairy Farm International Holdings, Ltd. group of companies, for P18 billion.

RSCI operates the food retail brands such as Marketplace by Rustan’s, Rustan’s Supermarket, Shopwise Hypermarket, Shopwise Express, and Wellcome.

RRHI has its own supermarket brands such as Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Selections, Robinsons Easymart, and Jaynith’s Supermart. Likewise, it manages a chain of community malls Robinsons Townville.

Some members of the Gokongwei family will be selling their shares to bring their stake in the company’s expanded capital to 51%. A secondary sale tranche will then allow Dairy Farm, through MCBV, to own 18.25% of RRHI.

RRHI will seek approval from its shareholders, the Philippine Competition Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission before completing the transaction. — Krista Angela M. Montealegre