THE Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun its initial investigations into Asda’s purchase of 132 retail sites from the Co-op.
Marking the start of phase one investigations into the purchase, the CMA is now considering whether the buy-up has resulted in a merger situation as part of the Enterprise Act 2002, which potentially could reduce competition across UK markets.
In a statement that invited Asda to make a comment on the matter, the CMA said the possible merger situation could result in a “substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.
The CMA’s phase one investigation is set to conclude on 14 March and a decision will be made whether or not the authority will move on to its second phase after.
Asda completed its purchase of 132 retail sites across the UK from the Co-op at the end of October 2022 – 129 of these sites include attached petrol stations, with seven Scottish sites forming part of this number.
A spokesperson for Asda said: “The acquisition of these sites is part of our long-term strategy to build a convenience business and bring Asda’s great value in fuel and groceries to more customers and communities throughout the UK.
“We referred the acquisition to the CMA when it completed last October and look forward to working collaboratively with them in the coming months.”