The proposed purchase by supermarket giant Tesco of wholesaler Booker is to be subjected to an in-depth probe, UK competition authorities have said.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says there are concerns over the proposed £3.7bn tie-up.
The CMA said there are 350 areas where there is an overlap between Tesco shops and Booker-supplied independent stores.
It said the deal could be bad for shoppers in those areas due to reduced competition.
The CMA said that if the deal were to go through, potentially, Booker could offer inferior wholesale terms to the stores it currently supplies, “in order to drive customers to their local Tesco”.
Last month Tesco and Booker asked the UK competition regulator to fast-track its probe into their proposed £3.7bn tie-up, from a basic Phase 1 investigation to a more in-depth Phase 2 inquiry, which has now been confirmed.