CMA clears Co-op’s £137m deal to buy Nisa

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the £137.5 million purchase of Scunthorpe-based Nisa Retail Limited by the Manchester-based Co-op following an investigation.

“After closely examining all the evidence, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the proposed merger does not give rise to competition concerns,” said the CMA.

“The Co-operative Group Ltd (Co-op), as a groceries retailer, and Nisa Retail Ltd (Nisa), as a groceries wholesaler, do not compete head-to-head.

“However, since Nisa supplies over 4,000 groceries stores, the CMA has carefully considered the potential impact of the merger on competition between shops.”

Sheldon Mills, senior director of mergers at the CMA, said: “Millions of people throughout the UK shop at convenience stores and supermarkets, and it is vital that they continue to have enough choice to get the best value for them.

“After careful consideration, we’ve found that there is sufficient competition in both the wholesale and retail sectors to ensure that shoppers are not worse off.”

The merger will therefore not be referred for an in-depth investigation.

Nisa members voted 75.79% in favour and 24.21% against the Co-op’s offer in November. The takeover required the support of 75% of Nisa members.

The deal is expected to complete on or around May 8.

Co-op Retail CEO Jo Whitfield said: “We’re delighted with the CMA decision and are really excited about sharing our plans for the future once we gain court sanction.

“Our strategy is to get closer to communities and our new business will create a strong product offer and improved prices for Nisa members that will engage their shoppers across the UK.”