The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has invited interested parties to lodge comments about the Co-operative Group’s £1.57 billion acquisition of Somerfield.

Any interested parties have until August 11 to lodge their comments. The OFT will then consider if the buy could result “in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services that warrants reference to the Competition Commission for investigation and report”.

Co-op secured its long-awaited deal for Somerfield two weeks ago from a private equity consortium. At the time, Co-op chief executive Peter Marks said he was confident of working through any potential issues with the OFT.