The competition watchdog has extended the deadline for its final report into the proposed Sainsbury’s-Asda merger.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) now has an additional eight weeks to report its findings, with its report due by April 30.

In a statement, the CMA said this decision was made due to the “scope and complexity of the investigation and the need to consider issues raised by the main parties’ and third parties’ submissions”.

A number of the grocers’ rivals including Morrisons, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl have all warned against the impact of the merger.

Retail Week understands that the CMA aims to publish provisional findings of its phase two investigation into the proposed merger at some point this month. The watchdog will then issue a call for feedback on the initial findings.

The CMA launched its investigation into the merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda last August. In December, the two grocers appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for a judicial review of the inquiry.

The competition watchdog subsequently agreed to extend the deadline for its provisional findings, but the legal back-and-forth wiped 7% off Sainsbury’s share price.

The merger was first announced in March last year, sending shockwaves through the market. A combined Sainsbury’s-Asda would outstrip Tesco’s market share in the fiercely competitive grocery sector.