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Tesco, Booker ask CMA to fast track merger investigation

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Tesco
Merger   Tesco plans to buy Booker for GBP3.70 billion

Tesco and Booker Group said they have asked the UK Competition & Markets Authority to "fast track" its phase 1 review into the proposed merger of the two companies.

Supermarket giant Tesco plans to buy wholesaler and convenience store operator Booker for GBP3.70 billion.

At the end of May, the CMA opened a phase 1 investigation into the deal, during which it is assessing whether the deal could reduce competition and choice for shoppers.

After this first phase, the merger will either be cleared or, if the CMA identifies a potential reduction in competition, it will be referred for a phase 2 in-depth investigation lasting up to 24 weeks, unless the merging parties can offer proposals following the phase 1 investigation which address any concerns identified.

The phase 1 investigation is due to run until July 25, but Tesco and Booker said in identical statements on Thursday that they have requested the CMA "fast track" the investigation "to allow it to move more quickly to examining the merger through a detailed phase 2 process".

Tesco and Booker said they expect an early decision to refer to phase 2 within the next two weeks.


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