Suppliers, retailers and other interested parties have until November 15 to comment on Tesco's plan to acquire T&S to the Office of Fair Trading.
The OFT has issued a detailed list of questions it would like answered, many of them related to local competition issues.
A case would usually raise concerns if the buyer stood to gain more than 25% of a given market. It is not clear whether the market for this deal would be defined as the convenience market or the total grocery market, but in either case, experts insist Tesco would not exceed the 25% ceiling. However, analysts say Tesco could be forced to make some disposals if the OFT chose to define the market at a more local level. The OFT would not comment on the level of response so far. But suppliers and small retailers are clearly uneasy at Tesco's efforts to grow its influence in the c-store arena.
And FWD director general Alan Toft said there was "some irony" in the fact Tesco stood to boost its buying power by the best part of £1bn without raising a regulatory eyebrow, just seven months after the introduction of a code of practice brought in to curb the power of the multiples.

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