Sainsbury’s-Asda merger: when two become one

Sainsbury’s-Asda merger

Property Week assesses the likelihood of the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger being approved by the CMA and the impact it could have on the store estates of the two supermarkets.

So it came as a surprise when news broke that Asda and Sainsbury’s intended to merge in a £13bn deal that to all intents and purposes (and in all but name) would create a big three if approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The supermarket behemoths argue that the deal would allow them to cut prices by as much as 10% and provide a better service to customers. Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, which seems to be taking the lead on the merger, also claimed that should the deal go through it would not lead to store closures or job losses in stores.

However, many grocery analysts and property experts do not believe it is possible to get a deal of such a size through without agreeing to close stores. They cite the precedent of Morrisons’ acquisition of Safeway in 2004, which saw the former forced to dispose of a number of stores.

So what are the chances of the deal being approved by the CMA, what impact is the merger likely to have on the store estates of the two parties and who will be the likely winners and losers from any store closures?

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