Tesco’s £3.7bn takeover of wholesale titan Booker is all but complete after shareholders in both businesses voted in favour of the deal.
Some Booker investors including Sandell Asset Management Corp, which holds a 1.75% stake in the company, had threatened to derail the merger at the eleventh hour by insisting its shareholders “would be better off rejecting the offer”.
But 83.4% of Booker’s shareholders have given the deal the green light – more than the 75% it required to press ahead.
Earlier today, Tesco investors had unanimously backed the takeover, with 85.2% of stakeholders approving the deal – easily outstripping the grocer’s 50% threshold.
Both Tesco and Booker’s share prices have jumped around 3% off the back of the votes.
The mega merger, which gained approval from the Competition and Markets Authority in December, is now expected to be formally completed on Monday, March 5.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “I’m delighted that the shareholders of both companies have supported the merger.
“This merger is about growth, bringing together our complementary retail and wholesale skills to create the UK’s leading food business.
“This opens up new opportunities to provide food wherever it is prepared or eaten - ‘in home’ or ‘out of home’ - and will benefit our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.”
As previously reported, Booker chief executive Charles Wilson will take the reins of Tesco’s enlarged UK and Ireland business following completion of the deal.
Matt Davies, the current boss of Tesco’s core British and Irish arm, is stepping down to pursue a portfolio career.
He has already secured his first chairmanship, at fashion retailer N Brown.