Sainsbury’s sale of pharmacies to Lloyds referred for in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets AuthorityComments Off on Sainsbury’s sale of pharmacies to Lloyds referred for in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority
Britain’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into the sale of Sainsbury’s pharmacies to the Lloyds Pharmacy chain.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) determined that the owner of Lloyds had failed to address concerns that the deal would affect consumer choice.
The CMA had identified 78 local areas where customers may be affected by a loss of competition between Lloyds, owned by Celesio, and Sainsbury’s outlets.
It asked Celesio, which announced the takeover of all 277 of Sainsbury’s pharmacies in July, to respond to its finding.
The CMA said Celesio had not “offered any undertakings in lieu” and it would now refer the merger for an in-depth investigation by an independent panel.
Its conclusions will be revealed on June 13, 2016.
A Celesio spokesperson said: “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.”
Sainsbury’s said that it was hopeful the deal would still complete by the end of February.
“We continue to work closely with Lloyds Pharmacy during their discussions with the CMA.
“Both parties remain fully committed to the transaction and we continue to work towards a completion date of 29 February,” a spokeswoman said.