This Competition Commission report examines the purchase by Somerfield PLC of 115 stores and other assets from Wm Morrisons PLC, in October 2004. The Office of Fair Trading referred this to the Commission in March 2005, with competition concerns. The Commission has concluded that the completed acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in 12 local grocery retail markets, as well as 14 local markets where acquisition gave concern. To restore competition in these markets, Somerfield will have to sell 12 stores to suitable grocery retailers approved by the Commission. Somerfield group is the fifth largest supermarket group with a UK annual turnover of approximately GBP 4.7 billion. It has 750 mid-range stores under Somerfield, and 500 under Kwik Save. Morrisons is the fourth largest grocery retailer in the UK, operating about 500 stores. An earlier Competition Commission report on mergers issued as a Command Paper (Cm.5950) is also available on the subject of proposed mergers between Safeway PLC and Asda Group Limited (owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc); Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC; J Sainsbury PLC; and Tesco PLC (see ISBN 0101595026).
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