The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has formally opened its investigation into Tesco’s plans to acquire Booker wholesale.
The first phase will look into whether the deal may affect competition with other multiples, convenience stores and wholesalers. It will also look into whether the deal may affect customer choice and pricing. This is expected to take until the 25 July 2017.
As part of this initial process, interested parties including rivals, suppliers, partners, franchisees and customers are invited to submit their views for consideration in this first phase.
The deadline for submitted comments is 13 June and the comments will be made public, however some companies have already made their views heard. Earlier this month rival wholesaler and symbol group owner Bestway attacked Booker’s 'charm offensive' with their MD Martin Race stating: “Tesco is only interested in Tesco.” Meanwhile McColl’s CEO Jonathan Miller publicly announced he would be looking to snap up One Stop stores if Tesco was forced to sell them by the CMA.
Until the CMA’s investigation is over, Booker cannot make changes which would impact 'relevant stores' under its ownership, it must also supply the CMA with any requested information.
If the CMA concludes that there is a risk the deal will affect competition or consumer choice, they will launch: “an in-depth investigation lasting up to 24 weeks – unless the merging parties can offer proposals following the first phase of the investigation which address any concerns identified.”
Do it: Have your say on the merger by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and the CMA’s principal case officer email@example.com