Nisa expects the Competition and Markets Authority to make a decision on its takeover by the Co-op by 23 April.
Nisa CEO Arnu Misra said: “We are working closely with the Co-op towards the timetable the CMA have laid out. We expect the process to be completed by the 23 April.”
The date marks the end of the CMA’s phase one investigation. It can then either refer the takeover to a longer six-month investigation – as it did with Tesco-Booker – approve the deal outright with no changes, or approve the deal outright with some changes to satisfy the regulator’s competition concerns.
Combined with the beginning of the Co-op’s supply deal with Costcutter stores (now delayed until the end of May), one in six UK convenience stores will be supplied by the Co-op if the Nisa deal is approved.
Senior supplier sources told Retail Express that they believe the deal will be approved on 23 April. “If they approved Tesco-Booker, how can they say no to anything else?" said one supplier.
Despite Nisa refusing to comment directly on what they expect the outcome to be, Nisa’s annual expo in Stoneleigh suggests it agrees regulator approval is likely. A mock-up Nisa store in the conference showed Co-op and Nisa own-label products side-by-side on shelves.
Prices were only shown on Nisa lines and shelf-edge labels explained: “Co-op own-label products on display are some of the excellent range which may be available to Nisa members in the near future. We look forward to communicating wholesale prices as soon as the final range is unveiled.”
Nisa chief financial officer Robin Brown said the Co-op deal represents the completion of the wholesaler’s turnaround plans after losing the Costcutter supply contract in 2015.
Read more: Nisa's latest results show growing sales following P&H collapse