Competition authorities investigate sale of Sainsbury's pharmacies

Wed, 30 Dec 2015 | MERGER

The sale of Sainsbury's pharmacies business to the Lloyds Pharmacy chain is under investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The investigations, which are likely to delay or halt the sale, have identified 78 local areas where the potential loss of market competition between Lloyds and Sainsbury's outlets could have an impact on consumers.

To address the matter, the CMA requested that Lloyds owner Celesio respond to the matter. This has yet to happen with no undertakings in lieu offered by the company and as such the merger is to be referred to an independent panel for an in-depth investigation.

Celesio appears confident that the deal will progress, stating: “While we accept there may be some geographical areas affected by a lessening of competition we do not believe it is as many as outlined by the CMA following its initial investigation.

“Therefore, we welcome a more detailed analysis and the opportunity to put our case forward.”

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's has said that it is continuing to work towards a deal completion date around the end of February, despite the fact that the full in-depth investigations from the CMW will not be revealed until 13 June.

The investigations do not mean that the sale will be halted, simply that further reassurances of consumer protection and maintenance of healthy competition will need to be provided.


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