Booker calls on CMA to 'fast track' probe into Tesco merger

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Coming together: the Booker and Tesco merge was agreed in a £3.7bn deal
Coming together: the Booker and Tesco merge was agreed in a £3.7bn deal

Related tags Mergers and acquisitions

Foodservice wholesaler Booker has urged the UK competition regulator to “fast track” the review into its merger with Tesco.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been examining the deal since it was made in January this year and Booker has predicted the regulator will reach its decision next month (July).

Booker, which sells to about 468,000 catering outlets including pubs, said: “On 27 January 2017, we announced the planned merger with Tesco and Booker Group. Since that point, we have been working closely with the CMA as it examines the merger.

“Following continued constructive dialogue and further to the commencement of the CMA’s phase one review on 30 May 2017, we have now requested the CMA uses the ‘fast track’ process to allow it to move more quickly to examining the merger through a detailed phase two process."

Deal agreed

It added: “We expect the CMA to issue an early decision to refer to phase two within the next two weeks.”

Booker also thanked the CMA for the work it has done to date and said it appreciated the support of customers, suppliers and colleagues during this process.

The wholesaler and Tesco announced they had agreed terms to merge in a huge £3.7bn deal​ at the beginning of this year (January).

The companies claimed the move would provide better availability of food and help independent small businesses by further improving choice, price and service, with enhanced digital and delivery service options.

Bringing major benefits

Booker CEO Charles Wilson said the wholesaler was committed to improving choice, prices and service for the independent retailers, caterers and small businesses that it is proud to serve.

He added: “We believe that joining forces with Tesco offers the potential to bring major benefits to end consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.”

Meanwhile, Booker reported its “best sales and profit” on record despite a "challenging market"​ last month (May).

The group attributed its success to a continued focus on developing the business and listening to customers’ needs.

Also, Booker Wholesale and Ei Publican Partnerships have together helped 4,000 licensees to boost their food offering through a range of deals and services, following the launch of the partnership two years ago, it was announced today (Thursday 29 June).

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