“Booker rivals’ outrage over Tesco tie-up” is the leading business headline in this morning’s edition of The Times (£) as the media expresses shock at the CMA’s decision to green light the £3.7bn Tesco acquisition of Booker.

Outraged wholesalers yesterday were considering an eleventh-hour rearguard action against the £3.7 billion merger of Tesco and Booker after the competition regulator provisionally approved the deal. The report was condemned by wholesale and cash and carry groups, which warned that the deal would “destroy competition” and put thousands of jobs at risk (The Times £). The move has sparked outrage from rival wholesalers who have argued the combination will threaten the survival of independent shopkeepers (The Telegraph). Some analysts were stunned the watchdog appeared ready to wave through such a large and controversial deal without asking for concessions (The Guardian). Leading wholesalers warned the tie-up up would destroy their businesses and put thousands of jobs at risk and analysts predicted that the deal could spark a wave of consolidation across the industry (The Daily Mail).

“Christmas has come early for Tesco and Booker chiefs”, writes Ashley Armstrong in The Telegraph, adding: “The rest of the industry was anticipating the CMA demanding either the sale of hundreds Tesco Express shops or a remedy to dispose of Tesco’s One Stop chain.” An analysis piece in The Times (£) adds: “Behind the scenes Tesco and Booker had spent months on plans to avoid a punitive investigation from regulators and had drafted in some of the most persuasive lawyers and economists available”. Nils Pratley in The Guardian wrotes: “Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, predicted exactly this outcome, so we should give him credit for being able to read the minds of the CMA’s policy wonks. Now – for him – comes the harder part of convincing his own shareholders that swallowing Booker is sensible” (The Guardian). “The argument that Tesco and Booker don’t compete directly in the convenience market [has been] won,” said Bruno Monteyne, analyst at Bernstein (The Financial Times £).

Grocery prices rose at their fastest rate in four years over the past three months according to a report from Kantar Worldpanel on Tuesday, adding to pressure on consumers in the run up to Christmas (The Financial Times £). The rate of inflation remained static at 3% in October - defying expectations of a rise among economists and policymakers at the Bank of England (Sky News).

A growing number of online retailers are opening physical stores on the high street in a bid to attract customers, as the growth of internet shopping looks set to slow. (The Telegraph)

Retail veteran Sir Terry Leahy is stepping down as chairman from B&M Bargains five years on from taking the role and steering the discount retailer on to the stock market in 2014 (The Telegraph). His departure comes as B&M posted soaring half-year sales and profits – thanks to new store openings and the acquisition of frozen food retailer Heron Foods (The Daily Mail).

Sir Terry Leahy’s decision to step down from B&M European Value Retail on the same day that Tesco gained regulatory clearance to buy Booker for £3.7bn invites an assessment of the two acts of his retailing career to date: running the supermarket group between 1997 and 2011, then chairing the discount chain from 2012. (The Financial Times £)

The UK’s highest court will decide later whether Scotland can finally implement its policy of minimum pricing for alcohol. (The BBC)

Sainsbury’s is trialing a new pizza takeaway ordering service that, if successful, could be rolled out across stores nationwide. (The Telegraph)

Nestlé considers fate of past deals before striking again, writes The Financial Times (£). New boss Mark Schneider is taking a careful approach to M&A in wake of skin unit debacle.

Fewer Americans are drinking sugary beverages each day compared with a decade ago, but the decline is not evenly spread among the population, a new study shows. (The Guardian)

Burger King UK is to receive significant investment from Bridgepoint in a move that threatens to provide stiffer competition to McDonald’s. (The Times £)

It is already one of the top-ranking FTSE 100 companies for gender parity in the boardroom. Now Diageo has laid down a marker on female pay by revealing that the median pay gap across its employees in England and Wales favours women. (The Times £)