The Competition and Markets Authority is to conduct a merger inquiry into the £600m sale of Co-op Group petrol stations to Asda.
The deal, agreed last August, involves 129 convenience stores of between 1,500 and 3,000 sq ft, with attached petrol stations, and three development sites. Spread across the UK, they represent 5% of the Group’s estate of 2,564 stores.
It also saw 2,300 workers move over to the supermarket giant, following consultation with trade union Usdaw.
The CMA says it looking into whether “this transaction has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.
Interested parties have until 31 January to send their comments on the transaction. The deadline for phase one of the CMA’s decision is 14 March.
An Asda spokesperson 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.”
Co-op News has contacted the Co-op Group for comment.