Tesco today completed its acquisition of Booker Group, creating the leading food group in the UK.
The £3.7bn deal was given court approval on Friday after shareholders voted it through last week. Booker Group’s shares have been de-listed from the London Stock Exchange. Each share has been exchanged for 42.5p in cash, and 0.861 new Tesco shares.
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Tesco will now push ahead with its integration of Booker’s wholesale expertise with its supermarket business. Booker’s chief executive Charlie Wilson, a highly respected figure in the retail industry, has been made head of Tesco’s UK operation.
When the merger was announced, there were concerns that the takeover could disadvantage smaller businesses. Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said an investigation of the merger by the Competition and Markets Authority had “allayed fears”, but that the FSB would be looking out for signs of smaller companies being disadvantaged.
“It’s critical that this takeover does not result in any deterioration of service for small retailers that buy from the wholesaler, or create a market player that dominates,” he said.
“Done right, we recognise that there could be real benefits for small businesses from the deal – a more efficient ordering framework, lower prices, more frequent deliveries, improved food waste and better access to fresh produce.”