The Competition Commission has handed over its delayed report in the bidding battle for the 479-store estate of supermarket chain Safeway to the Department of Trade and Industry.

After a six-day delay, DTI secretary Patricia Hewitt will now have 30 days to review the report with her announcement expected at the end of September.

Northern-based rival Morrisons bid £2.9m for Safeway in January which has since seen Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco and Philip Green join in the takeover frenzy.

Any bidder that is cleared will have 21 days to make an offer, with other interested parties having 50 days to put in a counter-bid.