Asda and Sainsbury's Agree to Merger Deal in UK

01 May, 2018, 09:14 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • The supermarkets employ about 342,000 people in more than 1,000 stores across the country

Asda will continue to be run from Leeds by CEO Roger Burnley, who will join the Group Operating Board of the combined business.

Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, said: "While some investors shudder at the prospect of cumbersome mergers that benefit leadership rather than shareholders, it is clear that markets consider the possibility of a deal between Sainsbury's and Asda as carrying substantial benefits for both firms".

"Given the competitive landscape in United Kingdom grocery retail, profitable growth and expansion opportunities are limited, so reducing resources makes sense - especially when there are other geographies and channels" with more opportunity for growth, said Moody's Lead Retail Analyst Charlie O'Shea.

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"The CMA waved through the Tesco-Booker deal and for this deal there is confidence that the price in terms of divestments may well be relatively low".

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This included Asda and Sainsbury's stores that sit metres from each other in many towns and cities. "Now, Waitrose has supplanted Sainsbury's on the premium end and the two large German discounters, Aldi and Lidl, have gobbled up market share in the value sector", Stern wrote.

Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, notes that if given the green light by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the merger would be a "game changer" in the industry and could deliver price reductions across a range of products, putting it in a position to challenge Tesco and the discounters head-on.

Mr Coupe insisted that the merger, which led to a 15 per cent rise in the chain's share price as the deal was confirmed, would not result in the closure of outlets or redundancies.

Jefferies analyst James Grzinic said there's a "significant risk" of the purchase being blocked but that Sainsbury would be willing to make concessions.

The CMA "will use all of their resources to ensure they fully understand not just the bricks and mortar marketplace but also the competition from online retailers", U.K. Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said in parliament Monday.

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"Hundreds of thousands of workers stand to be affected, and all know such announecements tend to be followed by management speak like "rationalism" in the name of "efficiency"/ What that usually means is job losses or cuts to pay, terms and conditions which would be wholly unacceptable".

Both Asda and Sainsbury have struggled in sales growth and that has weighed on the ability of them to get less expensive deals with their suppliers. The real figure is likely to be higher still. Asda is known for its everyday low prices while Sainsbury's is known for the strength of its fresh food offer and the high quality of its food.

"A merger won't necessarily be the reason for closing stores", she said.

"I think that is there to avoid people panicking more than anything while they work out what is going to happen".

"Sainsbury's has largely succeeded with its acquisition of Argos so far, but to take on an even more challenging integration so soon after looks risky".

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