The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has approved the acquisition by Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc (Morrison) of 30 stores from the Co-operative Group Limited (CGL). The acquisition follows the undertakings given in January 2009 (the Undertakings) by CGL to the OFT to divest 133 stores in local areas as a result of its acquisition of Somerfield Limited. The Undertakings were recently updated in May 2009. Only 10 of the 30 stores acquired by Morrison were listed as "Divestment Businesses" in the Undertakings. The turnover of all 30 stores exceeded the £70m 'turnover test' giving the OFT jurisdiction to assess the competition implications of the deal. In a decision published on 17 July 2009, the OFT concluded that there was unlikely to be a substantial lessening of competition as a result of the merger. It therefore decided not to refer the acquisition to the Competition Commission.
To read the Co-Op's modified Undertakings click here.