The bosses of the UK’s seven biggest wholesale businesses have called on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to block the deal.
Bosses from businesses including Spar, Bestway and the UK’s largest buying group Today’s Wholesale Services argue that the £3.7bn deal would “threaten the survival of the independent retailer”.
They reason that Tesco’s increased power in the grocery and convenience market would harm suppliers and result in higher prices and less choice for independent retailers and consumers.
The opposition comes just one day after Tesco boss Dave Lewis, speaking at the retailer’s interim results, said he was confident that the deal was on track.
But the bosses of the seven businesses, which comprise 60% of the convenience market, vehemently disagreed with Lewis.
In the response to the CMA’s investigation of the merger, one respondent said: “With these prices, it [Tesco Booker] will be able to drive its competitors, be they delivered wholesalers, cash and carry or symbol operators, out of business.”
“At the retail level, the combination of Booker’s wholesale prices and Tesco’s deep pockets will present independent retailers with a stark choice: Join a Booker/Tesco symbol or go out of business.”
The CMA is expected to report its provisional findings on the deal by the end of this month. It is due to come to a final decision by the end of the year.