Sainsbury’s and Asda seek extra time for merger inquiry


Sainsbury’s and Asda have asked for a delay in the competition inquiry into their proposed £7.3bn merger deal.

A deal, if it goes ahead, could see the combined group bypass Tesco as market leader and is being assessed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Sainsbury’s and Asda said the current timetable did not give them, or the CMA, sufficient time given the unprecedented scale and complexity of the case.

“This is a case of unprecedented size and complexity and we have a responsibility to our customers and colleagues to ensure that we and the CMA have enough time to make and consider all the facts and evidence,” a spokeswoman for both supermarkets said.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It is about ensuring a thorough process and reasonable timetable. We remain confident in the case for merging the businesses and the significant customer benefits.”

The CMA expects to issue provisional findings of its investigation early next year ahead of a final report in March.