Sainsbury’s-Asda say regulator’s merger view is ‘prohibition in all but name’

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) – British supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Asda said the UK competition regulator’s provisional view on their proposed combination amounted to “prohibition in all but name”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month said its initial view was that Sainsbury’s 7.3 billion pounds ($9.7 billion) proposed takeover of Walmart’s Asda should be blocked in the absence of the sale of a large number of stores, or even one of the brands.

Sainsbury’s and Asda’s response to the CMA’s notice of possible remedies was published on Friday. The two supermarket group’s said the CMA’s remedy proposal was “impossible to implement”.

However, the groups said they were willing to divest 125-150 supermarkets, plus a number of convenience stores and divest some petrol stations.

The CMA must publish its final report by April 30. (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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