UK competition authority has identified 463 sites where the proposed takeover of Asda by Sainsbury could seriously lessen competition.
Last week the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) referred Sainsbury’s proposed £7.3bn takeover of rival Asda, the British supermarket arm of Walmart, for an in-depth, or “phase 2”, review, saying shoppers could face higher prices or a worse quality of service in places where both chains had shops.
“At a local level, the Parties’ stores overlap in several hundred local areas across the UK,” the CMA said. “The CMA believes that the merger may give rise to a realistic prospect of an SLC in many of these local areas if Sainsbury’s and Asda are insufficiently constrained by other local competitors.”
Both Sainsbury’s and Asda had requested a fast-track to a phase 2 process.
The watchdog has a statutory deadline of 5 March to reach a decision.