Tesco’s takeover of food wholesaler Booker has been approved despite objections from a group of Booker’s largest rivals including Spar and Bestway claiming that the deal could force smaller rivals out of business.
The result of the inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) states that the retail and wholesale sectors are “highly competitive,” and, “we are confident that this will continue after Tesco buys Booker.”
In September this year Booker announced a flat second quarter results with sales rising by only 1%.
At the time, Charles Wilson, chief executive, of Booker said: “The Booker Group continues to make good progress with like-for-like non-tobacco sales up 6%. Our plans to focus, drive and broaden the Booker Group are on track. The competition review of the planned merger with Tesco plc is progressing and we continue to help our retail, catering and small business customers prosper through improving our choice, prices and service.”
In January 2017 when the news of the merger was first announced Wilson said: “Booker is committed to improving choice, prices and service for the independent retailers, caterers and small businesses that we are proud to serve. We believe that joining forces with Tesco offers the potential to bring major benefits to end consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.
Wilson will join the combined group’s board. Tesco and Booker both welcomed the news and said they expect shareholder meetings to approve the deal to take place in February 2018.
The Booker Group comprises Booker Wholesale, Makro, Booker Direct, Classic Drinks, Ritter Courivaud, Chef Direct, Premier, Family Shopper, Budgens, Londis and Booker India.