Tesco's £3.7 billion Booker tie-up provisionally cleared

Supermarket giant Tesco's £3.7 billion deal to buy wholesale group Booker has been provisionally cleared by the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its in-depth investigation into the tie-up found it did not raise competition concerns despite fears raised by a raft of rival wholesalers.

The CMA said Tesco and Booker do not compete "head-to-head" in most areas in which they operate.

"In particular, Tesco does not supply the catering sector to which Booker makes over 30% of its sales," the CMA said.

It comes despite the CMA having earlier raised fears over 350 local areas of overlap between Tesco and Booker where it feared the deal could lead to "worse terms".

Simon Polito, chair of the CMA's inquiry group, said: "Our investigation has found that existing competition is sufficiently strong in both the wholesale and retail grocery sectors to ensure that the merger between Tesco and Booker will not lead to higher prices or a reduced service for supermarket and convenience shoppers."

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