The competition and markets authority (CMA) has officially approved Co-op’s takeover of convenience store chain Nisa.
After months of waiting the CMA has given the green light for the £143 million deal to go ahead, stating that its phase one probe did not lead it to believe a deeper phase two probe was required.
It concluded shoppers would not be worse off as a result of the deal, adding that the two firms do not compete because Nisa is a wholesaler and Co-op is a retailer.
The 4000 stores that Nisa supplies are also able to set their own prices and are free to choose their own stock.
“Millions of people throughout the UK shop at convenience stores and supermarkets, and it is vital that they continue to have enough choice to get the best value for them,” the CMA’s senior director of mergers Sheldon Mills said.
“After careful consideration, we’ve found that there is sufficient competition in both the wholesale and retail sectors to ensure that shoppers are not worse off.”
Although some “rebel” Nisa shareholders threatened to block the deal in November over fears the terms were unfair, it was approved by 75.8 per cent of shareholders, only just topping the 75 per cent required.
Sainsbury’s was originally set to acquire Nisa in a £130 deal last year, but it pulled out of the process so it could gain a better understanding of how the CMA would handle the merger. This followed Tesco’s shock £3.7 billion take over of supplier Booker, which was given the provisional green light at the end of last year.
Nisa’s chairman Peter Hartley added: “Today’s ruling by the CMA is excellent news, and a significant step towards finalising the transaction that our members voted for last November.
“We are very excited about our future together which will help ensure that our members are best placed to serve their communities.”
The deal will see Co-op nearly double the number of stores it supplies from 3800 to 7000, but Nisa will retain independence as a brand and business.