Seven wholesalers write jointly to CMA to urge it to block Booker-Tesco deal

Seven of the UK’s leading wholesalers have written a joint letter to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urging it to block the proposed Tesco-Booker merger.

The managing directors and chief executives of Bestway Wholesale, Bidfood, Confex, Landmark Wholesale, Spar UK, Sugro UK and Today’s Wholesale Services co-signed the letter, which was submitted to the CMA as part of its ongoing investigation of the proposed deal. This follows submissions from Bestway and supplier organisation The British Brands Group (see Wholesale News, September).

The letter refutes Booker and Tesco’s claim that a merger would enhance competition in the UK and promote consumer interests and will put the CMA under further pressure to block the deal.

The group has told the CMA of the consequences if Booker acquires Tesco’s unrivalled power in grocery procurement, saying it would harm suppliers, and result in higher prices and less choice for independent retailers and consumers.

They added that Tesco, with its ability to target lower prices where it faces local competition, would also have the power to force out of business all those independent retailers with which it competes locally.

“This merger will not just result in a substantial lessening of competition but in a complete restructuring of the wholesale and retail of groceries in the convenience and foodservice sectors, to the unquestioned detriment of consumers,” the letter concluded.

It is expected that the CMA will issue its provisional decision towards the end of October 2017 and a final decision in December.

We’ll have a full analysis on this story in the October issue of Wholesale News.

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