January 15, 2009 / 3:40 PM / 10 years ago

OFT clears Co-op purchase of Somerfield

LONDON (Reuters) - The Office of Fair Trading said on Thursday it had cleared the Co-operative Group’s proposed 1.57 billion pound purchase of supermarket group Somerfield, having accepted its store divestment proposals.

“The OFT has today accepted the undertakings offered by Co-operative Group to address the competition concerns arising from its proposed acquisition of Somerfield.

“As a result, the merger will not be referred to the Competition Commission.”

Under the terms of its undertakings to the OFT, the Co-op will divest stores in 133 areas across the UK.

“This divestment package ensures that consumers will continue to enjoy strong competition in local grocery markets across the UK, while at the same time allowing a strategically important and likely pro-competitive merger in the UK grocery sector to go ahead,” said OFT Chief Executive John Fingleton.

Reporting by James Davey, editing by Philip Waller

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