Tesco’s £3.7bn takeover of food wholesaler Booker has been provisionally cleared by the UK’s competition regulator. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal could even increase competition in the wholesale market and reduce prices for shoppers. Tesco and Booker did not compete head-to-head in most activities, it added. Booker is the UK’s largest food wholesaler, and also owns the Premier, Budgens and Londis store brands. More than 30% of its sales are to the catering sector, which Tesco does not supply, although the supermarket is keen to get a foothold in the market. The CMA concluded that the wholesale market would “remain competitive in the longer term”, because Booker’s share of the UK grocery wholesaling market, at less than 20%, “was not sufficient to justify the longer-term concerns”.
Despite losing market share in recent years, Tesco remains the UK’s biggest supermarket with a share of about 28%.