Sainsbury's to face anti-competition investigation over pharmacy sale
The CMA said that the owner of Lloyds - Celesio - failed to recognise the worry that this particular deal would harm consumer choice. They were asked by the watchdog to address the concerns that 78 areas could be hurt by the lack of competition if Lloyds takes over all 277 of Sainsbury's pharmacies.
As Celesio didn't allay these fears, the CMA said that the takeover will now face a full investigation.
A Celesio UK spokesperson said that they're contesting the CMA's belief that so many areas would be affected: "As we said after the first announcement from the CMA on 11 December, while we accept there may be some geographical areas affected by a lessening of competition we do not believe it is as many as outlined by the CMA following its initial investigation."
"Therefore, we welcome a more detailed analysis and the opportunity to put our case forward. We will continue to work closely with Sainsbury’s to help the CMA with its enquiries," they said.
A Sainsbury's spokesperson added: "We continue to work closely with LloydsPharmacy during their discussions with the CMA. Both parties remain fully committed to the transaction and we continue to work towards a completion date of 29 February."