co-op nisa

A source close to the Co-op Nisa deal told The Grocer the Tesc-Booker CMA verdict boded well for them

The majority of Tesco and Booker’s rivals were left disappointed by the easy ride given to the supermarket’s £3.7bn takeover of the UK’s biggest wholesaler this week by the Competition & Markets Authority - but it will have been welcomed by the Co-op and Nisa.

On Monday, the day before the CMA ruled on Tesco Booker, Nisa members accepted the £137m bid from the Co-op in an historic vote.

Like the Tesco Booker deal, the Co-op acquisition will require CMA approval. However, unlike the former which will have taken almost a year to be approved when the CMA publishes its final report at the end of December, the Co-op is expecting this deal to be concluded by the end of March.

In the Tesco Booker case, the CMA concluded that as Booker has less than a 20% share of the wholesale market, that sector would still remain competitive in the long term. It also found that in areas where Tesco-owned stores and those supplied by Booker overlapped, there was sufficient competition from rivals to ensure the merged entity would not force up prices.

A source close to the Co-op Nisa deal told The Grocer this boded well.

“I was surprised the CMA didn’t ask for any remedies,” he said. “March is now a realistic target to get this done.”

Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield said: “We are delighted Nisa members have supported our offer and our ambition to create a stronger member-led presence within the UK convenience sector. Together Co-op and Nisa can go from strength to strength and create real value for them in their communities. Our offer remains conditional on CMA approval and we remain in discussions with them.”

Of the 615 shareholders who voted, 494 (80.33%) were in favour of the bid with 121 (19.67%) against.

Crucially, this translated to 26,800 shares versus 8,560 - so the motion was supported by 75.79% of the shares, just passing the required 75% ­threshold needed to carry the resolution.