Booker gets final green light on Makro deal

Investors at food wholesaler Booker breathed a sigh of relief on Friday morning after the Competition Commission (CC) finally gave the all-clear to its acquisition of cash-and-carry peer Makro.

Investors at food wholesaler Booker breathed a sigh of relief on Friday morning after the Competition Commission (CC) finally gave the all-clear to its acquisition of cash-and-carry peer Makro.

The CC had "provisionally decided" to approve the purchase back in March but the company was waiting on a final report on the investigation to cement the deal.

"The board of Booker Group plc is pleased to note that the Competition Commission, in its final report published today, has unconditionally cleared the completed acquisition of Makro Holding Limited," the firm said in a statement.

The transaction, which values Makro at £140m, was completed in July 2012 but was referred by the Office of Fair Trading to the CC in November.

The cash-and-carry market is worth an estimated £11bn a year in the UK.

Booker, which operates 172 stores, had been required to hold the Makro business (30 stores) separate from the rest of company when reporting its results.

In its final report released on Friday, the CC said it had formally cleared the deal and that the merged company would face "sufficient competition" from other wholesalers.

"The CC therefore believes that the existing and potential alternatives offered by other suppliers will ensure that the merger will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition."

In Booker's third-quarter trading update in January, Chief Executive Charles Wilson said that the company is "excited about the opportunities of Booker and Makro coming together with the continuing aim of helping independent businesses prosper in the UK."

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