Co-op/Nisa deal gets CMA nod

Co-op storefront

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the Co-op’s takeover of Nisa, saying that “the proposed merger does not give rise to competition concerns”.

In approving the £137.5m deal, the CMA decided that existing competition in the marketplace meant the merged company would be unlikely to raise prices or cut service quality for both its retail and wholesale customers.

Peter Hartley, Chairman of Nisa, commented: “Today’s ruling (April 23) by the CMA is excellent news, and a significant step towards finalising the transaction that our members voted for last November.  We are very excited about our future together which will help ensure that our members are best placed to serve their communities.”

Over three-quarters of Nisa members had backed the takeover.

Sheldon Mills, Senior Director of Mergers at the CMA, said: “Millions of people throughout the UK shop at convenience stores and supermarkets, and it is vital that they continue to have enough choice to get the best value for them.

“After careful consideration, we’ve found that there is sufficient competition in both the wholesale and retail sectors to ensure that shoppers are not worse off.”

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed the news.  John Gorle, Usdaw National Officer, commented: “We believe that this acquisition will strengthen the Co-op brand. We are particularly pleased that the CMA did not require any stores to be sold as a part of their approval. That’s a decision that should secure the jobs of shopworkers on both sides of the deal.”