UK's CMA Appoints Oxford Professor To Assist With Sainsbury's-Asda Merger
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it is instructing Howard Smith, Associate Professor of Economics at Oxford University, to assist its team with reviewing the proposed merger between Sainsbury's and Asda.
Smith is also a member of the CMA's academic panel.
In a statement, the CMA noted that Smith is a Unilever shareholder, adding that it does not consider that this matter will prevent him from performing his role, nor the CMA discharging is functions in 'an independent and impartial manner' with regard to the proposed matter.
The CMA has been publishing a number of responses from business leaders about the proposed merger; in June it noted that higher prices, reduced choice for shoppers and a loss of innovation were some of the potential negative outcomes that could arise from the legislation.
'Some submissions considered that some or all of these consequences might particularly impact on certain supplier groups, such as smaller suppliers,' the CMA said at the time.
'Other respondents suggested that branded suppliers could be particularly affected, on the basis that the Parties would have an incentive to favour own-label products.'
It has also received a number of responses from government officials, including Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who said that while he noted that the CMA operates independently of government affairs, "my view is that, when assessing this merger, it should take account of both the horizontal and vertical competition issues, including the possible impact on the supply chain".
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.