The UK’s peak competition watchdog has officially launched its probe into the proposed £3.7 billion Tesco-Booker merger.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it would investigate whether the Tesco’s proposed acquisition of the wholesale supplier and convenience chain operator could “reduce competition and choice for shoppers and other customers”.
Interested parties have until June 13 to submit their views as part of the first phase of the investigation, which ends June 25.
The next step after the first phase will either see the CMA approve the proposed merger, or escalate it to an in-depth investigation if it identifies a potential reduction in competition.
The CMA said said an in-depth investigation could last up to 24 weeks.
“We have had a constructive engagement with the CMA since the announcement of the proposed merger on 27 January and are pleased to have the formal process now under way,” a Tesco spokeswoman said.
News of the proposed merger first emerged in January when Tesco agreed terms on a deal to acquire Booker, the UK’s biggest wholesale supplier.