UK's CMA clears Co-op-Nisa Retail mergerStaff Writer | April 24, 2018
The CMA of the UK has cleared the Co-op’s purchase of Nisa following an investigation.
Merger After closely examining all the evidence
The Co-operative Group Ltd (Co-op), as a groceries retailer, and Nisa Retail Ltd (Nisa), as a groceries wholesaler, do not compete head-to-head. However, since Nisa supplies over 4,000 groceries stores, the CMA has carefully considered the potential impact of the merger on competition between shops.
During the course of its ‘Phase 1’ investigation, the CMA took into account that Nisa-supplied stores would still be free to set their own prices and decide which products to stock after the merger, and so the merged company would not be able to directly determine how they compete.
It also examined whether the merged company could raise prices or reduce service quality for retail or wholesale customers. It found that existing retail and wholesale competition made this unlikely.
This is because there are enough local alternatives to both Co-op and Nisa-supplied stores to ensure that people could still shop around to get the best value for them.
Furthermore, Nisa-supplied stores are able to choose between several different wholesalers and would be able to switch supplier if prices were to increase or the quality of service go down as a result of the merger with Co-op.
This all means that the merged company would be unlikely to be able to raise prices or offer a worse service to either stores or to shoppers. ■