Tesco given go-ahead for £3.7bn Booker takeover

Tesco has been given the green light by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to complete its £3.7bn takeover of Wellingborough-based food wholesaler Booker.

The CMA found that Tesco as a retailer and Booker as a wholesaler – supplying to caterers, independent and symbol group retailers including Premier, Londis and Budgens – do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities. In particular, Tesco does not supply the catering sector to which Booker makes over 30% of its sales.

Simon Polito, chair of the inquiry group, said: “Millions of people use their local supermarket or convenience store to buy their groceries or essentials. Strong competition in the market ensures that shoppers can choose the best deal for them.

“Our investigation has found that existing competition is sufficiently strong in both the wholesale and retail grocery sectors to ensure that the merger between Tesco and Booker will not lead to higher prices or a reduced service for supermarket and convenience shoppers.”

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning (14 November), Tesco said: “Tesco PLC welcomes the announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it has given provisional unconditional clearance of our merger with Booker Group PLC.

“We look forward to creating the UK’s leading food business, bringing together our combined expertise in retail and wholesale. This merger has always been about growth, and will bring benefits for independent retailers, caterers, small businesses, suppliers, consumers, and colleagues.

We will continue to work with the CMA as it prepares the Final Report due by the end of December. We anticipate completion of the merger in early 2018.”

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