1. News
December 13, 2018

Sainsbury’s and Asda urge for judicial review into CMA investigation

British Supermarket giants J Sainsbury and Asda Group have collaboratively submitted an application with the Competition Appeal Tribunal for a judicial review of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Phase Two investigation into their proposed £7.3bn merger.

British Supermarket giants Sainsbury and Asda have collaboratively submitted an application with the Competition Appeal Tribunal for a judicial review of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Phase Two investigation into their proposed £7.3bn merger.

The companies urged the tribunal to review the timetable and process as the current deadline does not offer the companies or the CMA sufficient time to provide and consider all the evidence.

In a joint statement, Sainsbury’s and Asda said: “Specifically, we have asked the CMA for an additional 11 working days over the Christmas period to respond to a large amount of material recently provided to us.

“We are confident in the merits of the deal and our ability to deliver the synergies. By bringing our two businesses together, we will invest further in range, quality and customer service, while lowering prices and reducing the cost of living for millions of UK households.”

Sainsbury’s confirmed its plans to merge with Asda during the end April this year, promising that the merger will lead to lower prices.

The CMA has been conducting investigations into the proposed merger and completed the first phase of investigation. It also outlined the key areas of a Phase 2 investigation into the merger recently.

It expects to release its provisional findings early 2019 year before submitting a final report in March.

“Specifically, we have asked the CMA for an additional 11 working days over the Christmas period to respond to a large amount of material recently provided to us.”

In response to the judicial review application, the CMA noted that its first priority is to assess if the merger would lead to higher prices or a lower quality of service to shoppers and to prevent that from happening, if identified.

The statement said: “If we gave the companies the extra time they are now asking for, it would put our ability to complete the investigation by the required deadline at very serious risk.

“As with all of our merger reviews, we construct our timetable to ensure that everyone has the chance to have their say, including customers, the companies involved and suppliers.”