CTFN News asked Vivienne for her view on Tesco's application to fast-track the CMA's investigation into its acquisition of Booker:

"UK competition expert Vivienne Robinson told CTFN that the CMA will decide on the fast track process within a few days. If the CMA agrees, it will save Tesco about a month's delay, Robinson expected. "The CMA is not obliged to agree to the fast track treatment. It can only do so if it believes that there is a realistic prospect that the merger will result in a substantial lessening of competition. The CMA will also only use the fast track in cases where the problems the merger raises relate to the whole of the transaction such that it looks like it may be blocked in its entirety.”

"Robinson suggested that the application for fast track treatment shows that Tesco and Booker know that the merger raises such serious issues that it might not be cleared. “The CMA will be concerned not only about the harm the merger will do in procurement markets but also in the markets for convenience retailing and for symbol group services. Tesco will be able to favor its owned stores in all local markets where it faces competition, whether from Booker symbols or third party symbols,” Robinson said.

"Robinson added that another potential harm would be that the combined company could “manipulate prices on a micro level to ensure it takes the retail margin wherever it operates.”"

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Vivienne Robinson Solicitors is the trading name of Vivienne Robinson Ltd, a law firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA no. 598617) and covered for PII purposes by Axis Specialty Insurance Ltd. Company registered in England and Wales, registration number 85556627. VAT registration number GB680936113.

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