Tesco's £3.7bn merger with Booker gets the government green light

By Johan De Mulder

Tesco has moved one step closer to its acqusition of the wholesaler Booker after receiving the go-ahead from the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).

The £3.7bn merger was agreed in principle in January but was handed over to the CMA for approval over concerns regarding Tesco's possible saturation of the food retail market.

Such worries have been alleviated, however, with the government authority determining that there is a significant enough difference between Tesco and Booker's businesses for a merger to be accepted.

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The merger is expected to complete in the early part of 2018 and will consolidate Tesco's position in the catering sector.

"Millions of people use their local supermarket or convenience store to buy their groceries or essentials. Strong competition in the market ensures that shoppers can choose the best deal for them," said Simon Polito, chair of the inquiry group.

"Our investigation has found that existing competition is sufficiently strong in both the wholesale and retail grocery sectors to ensure that the merger between Tesco and Booker will not lead to higher prices or a reduced service for supermarket and convenience shoppers."

Booker supplies a number of convenience stores across the UK, including the likes of Budgens and Premier, while also supplying restaurants such as Wagamama.

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