Sainsbury’s has clashed with the competitions watchdog over its merger with Asda after a rival said it had no plans to enter the online grocery market.
Bosses at the supermarket are challenging a ruling by the CMA that effectively blocked its £14 billion tie-up with Asda.
They claim the regulator failed to properly interrogate respondents during its investigation into the deal.
Collision course: Bosses at the supermarket are challenging a ruling by the CMA that effectively blocked its £14 billion tie-up with Asda
In its provisional findings, published on February 21, the CMA said Aldi, Booths, Co-op and M&S ‘had no definitive plans’ to enter online shopping deliveries.
However, a week later, M&S announced its £1.5 billion delivery deal with online supermarket Ocado, adding another player to the online delivery market.
This could mean that competition in the industry is tougher than the CMA thought – potentially easing concerns over the impact of the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger.
M&S declined to comment but it is understood that the retailer submitted its response to the CMA before Christmas.
Sainsbury’s is battling to get its tie-up with Asda over the finish line after the deal was effectively blocked by the CMA.
The watchdog’s initial findings came as an embarrassing blow to Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe who pioneered the deal.
A CMA spokesman said: ‘The CMA is aware of the M&S-Ocado announcement and will consider the potential impact of the joint venture for its assessment of the Sainsbury’s-Asda investigation before reaching its final decision.’
Sainsbury’s declined to comment.