Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda days watchdog out in lawsuit about unprecedented scale and complexity & # 39; of tie-up warrants extra time to respond to probe
- The £ 12 billion proposed mega-merger is being screened up close guard dog
- The two "big four" supermarkets are now asking for a judicial test
- The CMA said it was unwilling to compromise on thoroughness or objectivity
Alex Sebastian For This Is Money
Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda challenge the watchdog in court for more time for replies to the survey of their £ 12 billion megafusion.
The two & # 39; big four & # 39; supermarkets request a judicial review, where the & # 39; unprecedented scale and complexity & # 39; of their planned trade union justifies the extra time.
On the other hand, the CMA is firmly of the opinion that the given timetable is adequate and typical of such a merger. It has said that it will defend its position in court and is unwilling to compromise on solidity or objectivity & # 39; of the research.
Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda challenge the match watchdog to court
The application for a review of the timetable and the process of the CMA was submitted today (Wednesday) to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda said they asked the CMA another 11 business days during the Christmas season to respond to a large amount of material they have recently received.
In a joint statement, Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda said: "This is a case of unprecedented size and complexity and we have a responsibility towards our customers and colleagues to ensure that we and the CMA are sufficiently have time to make and consider all facts and evidence.
& # 39; This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It is about ensuring a thorough process and a reasonable timetable. We remain confident in the case of merging the companies and the significant benefits for our customers. & # 39;
The CMA, however, suggested that the timeline is typical of such a study.
& # 39; As you would expect, investigating a merger of this magnitude requires assessing a large amount of material in a short timeframe, and it is not unusual for the companies involved to do so in the timelines we worked on with Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda. , & # 39; said a CMA spokesperson.
A branch of Asda in Harrow, North West London for Black Friday
& # 39; We have done everything we can to consider this work, while still ensuring that we meet our legally binding deadline. This also includes extending certain timelines for management, if applicable & # 39 ;.
& # 39; If we give the companies the extra time they ask for, this would imply our ability to complete the investigation with a very serious risk at the required deadline. We are unwilling to compromise on the depth or objectivity of our investigation and will vigorously defend this matter before the court, "the spokesman added.
Sainsbury & # 39; s chief executive Mike Coupe is under pressure to pull the deal over
So getting a large and complex transaction was never an easy task and today's announcement from Sainsbury's shows how awkward the combination with Asda is, says Russ Mold, investment director at AJ Bell.
& # 39; As an overworked schoolchild asking for an extension of their homework, the supermarket is forced to ask more time to respond to competition and market authority material if a merger investigation continues.
Today's update and CMA's earlier designation that the deal could lead to higher prices and lower quality of service for consumers do not provide the most encouraging signs of how things can evolve from here, & # 39; continued Mold.
• Investors can question Sainsbury's management more about the benefits of continuing the tie, given the demands it places on their time and resources. If the CMA enforces the deal, it is fair to say that their credibility will be compromised. & # 39;