CMA delays decision on Sainsbury’s and Asda merger due to deal’s complexity
The Competition and Markets Authority’s inquiry group that is looking at the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda has decided to extend the reference period for preparing its report by eight weeks to 30 April.
In a statement, the CMA said it had made the decision due to the scope and complexity of the investigation and the need to consider issues raised by both the main and third parties “to reach a fully reasoned final decision in the statutory timeframe”.
Last April Sainsbury’s announced that it had agreed terms with Asda owner Walmart for the potential merger. At the time Sainsbury’s said both brands would be maintained following the merger and that it did not plan to close any Sainsbury’s or Asda stores.
Yesterday Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the Usdaw shopworkers union, said: “We were alarmed by the initial recommendations of the CMA, which included the possibility of ordering the sale of 463 stores in the name of market competition. This would put tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
“We are also calling for the remit of the investigation to be broadened so that the concerns of the workforce are listened to and the impact on jobs fully considered. If those are the reasons for the extended investigation, then we welcome it.”
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