Tesco's £3.7 billion Booker tie-up provisionally cleared

Simon Polito

The CMA had previously raised fears over 350 local areas of overlap between Tesco and Booker and said it was anxious shoppers could face worse terms when buying their groceries as a result of the deal.

Even if Tesco wins final approval from the CMA, the supermarket may find it challenging to convince shareholders of the deal. "That worry is compounded by a tough consumer environment, changing shopping habits and fierce levels of industry competition".

In particular, it said that Tesco does not supply goods to the catering sector.

Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) today said that it welcomes the announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it has given provisional unconditional clearance of our merger with Booker Group PLC (LON:BOK).

Tesco has received the green light for a £3.7 billion takeover of Booker.

Initially announced in January, the move would see the UK's largest grocery retailer purchase the country's biggest grocery wholesaler.

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Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company's stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($51,681,107). A company that manages their assets well will have a high return, while if manages their assets poorly will have a low return.

The CMA began its investigation in May and launched an in-depth probe in July after Tesco and Booker asked for the inquiry to be fast-tracked.

A raft of rival wholesalers have also raised concerns the deal could see Booker benefit from improved supplier terms making it hard for them to compete, according to the CMA.

Shares in Tesco (LON:TSCO) have jumped almost five percent in London this morning, as Britain's competition watchdog cleared provisionally the grocer's tie-up with wholesaler Booker Group (LON:BOK).

There has since been concerns that following the acquisition there may be potential for Booker to reduce the wholesale services or terms it offers the "symbol" stores it now supplies, in order to drive customers to their local Tesco.

The regulator had been investigating whether shoppers and customers would have less choice as a result for merger. Purchasing Booker boosts its access to the foodservice sector at a time when it is under growing pressure from discounters Aldi and Lidl.

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