UK: Watchdog delays final report on Sainsbury’s-Asda merger

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it had decided to delay the publication of its report to give it enough time to “reach a fully reasoned final decision” on the £12 billion (US$15.4 billion) merger of grocery store chains Asda and Sainsbury’s.

An inquiry group made up of CMA panel members was due to report back by 5 March 5, but this timetable has now been extended to 30 April 30. The CMA stated Competition and Markets Authority said there were special reasons why the original March 5 deadline had been pushed back to April 30, citing the “scope and complexity of the investigation.”

It added that it needed to consider issues raised by both supermarkets and third parties, as well as the need to reach a fully reasoned provisional decision.

Combining Asda with Sainsbury’s would create the UK’s largest supermarket group with a market share of over 30%. The two companies have argued that their increased scale will result in lower prices for consumers, but most observers think they will be required to sell off at least some stores in order to secure approval.

Full Content: Telegraph & Financial Times

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