UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: Tesco to buy Booker in £3.7bn deal

Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, has agreed to buy the biggest wholesaler, Booker Group, in a £3.7bn deal.

The two companies said this morning the deal would create the “UK’s leading food business”

They added that combining the companies would bring benefits for “consumers, independent retailers, caterers, small businesses, suppliers, and colleagues”.

Under the terms of the deal, Booker shareholders will end up owning about 16% of the combined group

“Tesco has made significant progress in turning around our UK retail business,” said Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis.

“This merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco’s growth prospects by creating the UK’s leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital.

“Wherever food is prepared and eaten – ‘in home’ or ‘out of home’ – we will meet this opportunity with the widest choice and best service available.”

The FWD said in a statement: “FWD represents the interests of all food and drink wholesalers who supply and support retail and catering businesses. We are looking forward to continuing working with Booker to promote the wholesale industry as a critical sector of the UK economy”

We’ll have more on this story later today, including a statement from Booker CEO Charles Wilson – and look out for full analysis and comment in the February issue of Wholesale News.

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