Morrison’s Gets OK for Safeway Bid

Sep 29, 2003

By George Anderson

England’s Competition Commission has given the family-owned William Morrison grocery chain approval to proceed with its bid to buy the Safeway supermarket chain, reports
BBC News.

On Friday, the government announced in a 500-page report it excluded Tesco, Asda and J Sainsbury from the bidding on competitive grounds.

Tesco currently holds 27% market share in the UK while Asda and Sainsbury account for 17% and 16% respectively. A combined Morrison’s and Safeway will have a share of approximately
15% of the market.

The question now becomes whether Safeway will seek to have Morrison increase its original bid of £2.9bn to £3.5bn as is being reported in the British press.
If Safeway seeks a higher bid and Morrison refuses it would set up a situation for either a hostile takeover or another bidder to enter the competition.

Moderator’s Comment: What will the Competition Commission’s decision mean for the UK grocery market?

There really wasn’t any other decision to be made if the interests of UK consumers and suppliers were to be protected. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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