The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has cleared Asda’s purchase of Netto, a discount supermarket chain. The OFT accepted undertakings from Asda designed to minimise any adverse competition effects of the deal and avoid a referral to the Competition Commission. Asda is acquiring all of Netto’s 194 grocery stores in the UK. As a condition of OFT clearance, Asda agreed that it would sell onto third parties Netto stores in 47 areas where there would be a concentration of Asda/Netto stores. Asda was required to find “upfront” buyers for stores in 25 of these areas. An “upfront buyer requirement” is one where the acquirer has to find buyers in advance to ensure that the businesses are sold to independent purchasers in situations where there may be difficulties. The upfront purchasers will be Morrisons, Iceland and Haldanes. Haldanes proposes to operate the divested stores under its new “UGO” brand. Asda is now required to divest the stores located in the remaining 22 local areas.