Russian retailer Lenta has received approval from the country's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to proceed with the takeover of Billa Russia.
The group had previously announced the takeover of Billa Russia's 161 supermarkets, along with its supply chain infrastructure, back in May.
Its supermarket estate covers a total selling space of 138,051 square meters, with the vast majority of stores in Moscow and the Moscow region, as well as a distribution center in Bykovo (Moscow Region).
Following the approval, Lenta expects to complete the transaction on 2 August, it said.
Integration Into Lenta Network
In a statement, Lenta said that it 'plans to integrate the 161 newly acquired supermarkets, supply chain infrastructure and Billa Russia employees into the Lenta retail network. Once the stores have been converted to the Lenta brand, the Billa brand will be discontinued within Russia'.
Lenta's deal to take over Billa Russia came a day after fellow Russian operator Magnit announced it had agreed to take over the Dixy retail business, prompting speculation that a new raft of mergers and acquisitions was likely in the Russian marketplace.
Wave Of Consolidation
Lenta's chief financial officer Rud Pedersen commented back in May that more transactions were likely.
"I believe there will be consolidation, simply because retail is partly driven by economies of scale," Pedersen said during a media call.
"Hence, there is a competitive advantage for those retailers that are large, can negotiate better terms and conditions with suppliers, and can have a more efficient operating model, which is difficult for smaller retailers to compete with."
Lenta also recently announced the takeover of Semya Group, a regional retailer based in the Perm region.