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29th Apr 2018

Asda and Sainsbury’s £10 billion ‘super-supermarket’ merge could face investigation

Competition watchdog called to investigate the potential supermarket merger

Oli Dugmore

Competition watchdog called to investigate the potential supermarket merger

Asda and Sainsbury’s could be set for a Super Saiyan-esque fusion to Kamehameha the retail industry as we currently know it.

In the move, announced by Sky News, Britain’s second and third largest food retailers would form a tag-team to take on their largest rival Tesco – with the deal reportedly already in advanced talks.

The combination would give the newly formed supermarket alliance a 30 per cent share of the market. A segment bigger than Tesco’s.

Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Lib Dems and former business secretary, said the Competition and Markets Authority “must investigate” any deal between the companies.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey warned the merger risks “squeezing what little competition there is in the groceries market even further.”

Sir Vince said the mega-merger must be referred to a competition watchdog immediately.

“The grocery market – and the British shopper – already suffers from the mid-market being dominated by just a handful of big players. What the merger of the second and third biggest supermarkets threatens is the creation of even more concentrated local monopolies, so it is obvious that there must be an investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority, starting immediately.”

Unions have warned that the move will lead to job losses.

Joe Clarke, national officer for Sainsbury’s at the union Unite, told Sky News the potential deal was an “absolute shocker” with “implications for tens of thousands of jobs.”

He said staff were in “utter disarray” and “absolutely shocked” and Unite was asking for “senior level discussions” with both companies “immediately.”

“Obviously, if you’ve got stores in close location to one another, stores will close,” he added.