The CMA’s decision to clear the £3.7bn takeover is baffling, and seems unlikely to get the thumbs-up from all shareholders
The Competition and Markets Authority rarely fails to surprise. The watchdog worked itself into a fine fury a couple of years ago over the obscure merger between Poundland and 99p Stores. It eventually reached the commonsense conclusion that the deal would not deliver a fatal blow to competition on the high street, but it needed two attempts to get there.
Now, presented with the more substantial £3.7bn takeover of Booker by Tesco, the CMA has declared that it can’t see why anybody would make a fuss. Small convenience stores should not worry about Tesco getting even bigger. The catering trade will be unaffected, apparently. The deal can proceed without remedies.