CMA pushes back deadline for Sainsburys-Asda merger decisions
The date of the report by the UK competition watchdog into the proposed merger between Sainsbury's and Asda has been pushed back by eight weeks.
The Competition & Markets Authority had been expected to report the result of its deliberations this week ahead of a final decision deadline of 5 March.
But on Monday the CMA said that, due to the "scope and complexity of the investigation" and the need to consider issues raised by Sainsbury's and Asda, plus other issues raised by third parties, such as rivals, the inquiry panel had decided to extend deadline of its statutory decision by eight weeks to 30 April.
The panel felt it was unable to reach a "fully reasoned provisional decision" under the previous timetable, as delays had already been forced into the existing timetable when Sainsbury's and Asda requested 11 more days and called for a judicial review of the CMA's timetable and processes.
Provisional findings and possible remedies will now be published in "February", the CMA said on Monday, having previously been timetabled for "January/early February", with any response hearings coming in "early-mid March", if required.
Panel chairman Stuart McIntosh said as it was "necessary to allow sufficient time to take full and proper account of comments that will be received in response to the inquiry group’s provisional findings" and to provide time to debate the final decision the panel considered that there are "special reasons" why the deadline needed to be extended.