Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - FINANCE -

Com­pe­ti­tion watch­dogs have given su­per­mar­ket gi­ant Tesco’s £3.7bil­lion takeover of cash-and-carry firm Booker an ini­tial green light.

The Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity said its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the tie-up couldn’t find a prob­lem, de­spite fears from ri­val whole­salers.

The CMA said Tesco and Booker do not com­pete “head-to-head” in most of their trad­ing ar­eas.

“In par­tic­u­lar, Tesco does not sup­ply the ca­ter­ing sec­tor in which Booker makes over 30% of its sales,” the

CMA said.

The find­ing is sur­pris­ing given its pre­vi­ous wor­ries over the tie-up.

Booker is the coun­try’s largest whole­saler and owns Londis and Bud­gens as fran­chised out­lets.

Re­tail an­a­lyst Bruno Monteyne at Bern­stein said the deal would make Tesco “not only the big­gest gro­cer in the UK but also one of the fastest grow­ing food re­tail­ers for many years to come”.

The fo­cus will now shift to whether in­vestors will ap­prove the takeover.

While 50% of Tesco in­vestors must back it, the thresh­old is 75% for Booker share­hold­ers.

Shares in Tesco leapt 6.2%, with Booker up a hefty 6.7%, on the back of the an­nounce­ment.

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