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Sainsbury’s argues there are ‘significant errors’ in CMA merger report

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Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has claimed there are serious flaws over the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report into the £12bn merger with Asda.

The grocer has argued the merger will deliver £1bn in savings for shoppers, Sainsbury’s said the CMA report contains “significant errors” both economic and legal.

The CMA has provisional findings warn the deal could be blocked, as the two supermarkets will need to sell off significant stores, or even on of the brands.

Sainsbury’s said, “This is compounded by the CMA’s choice of a threshold for identifying competition problems that does not fit the facts and evidence in the case and that is set at an unprecedentedly low level, therefore generating an unreasonably high number of areas of concern.”

Last month the watchdog found 629 areas where there could be substantial reduction in competition in supermarkets as a result of the merger.

The CMA said it will be “difficult for the companies to address the concerns it has identified.”

Asda and Sainsbury’s pledged on Tuesday to make a number of commitments, post-merger should the deal be approved.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe and Asda boss Roger Burnley said, “We are trying to bring our businesses together so that we can help millions of customers make significant savings on their shopping and their fuel costs, two of their biggest regular outgoings.

“We are committing to reducing prices by £1bn per year by the third year, which would reduce prices by around 10% on everyday items.

“We are happy to be held to account for delivering on this commitment and to have our performance independently reviewed and to publish this annually.

“We hope that the CMA will properly take account of the evidence we have presented and correct its errors.

“We have proposed a reasonable yet conservative remedy package and hope the CMA considers this so that we can deliver the cost savings for customers.”

The CMA are expected to publish both supermarkets responses to their provisional findings imminently.

Shares in Sainsbury’s were up almost 2% by midday on Tuesday to 239p.




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