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From Keighley News, April 25th, 2019
Written by Alistair Shand

A PROPOSED merger which it was feared could have led to the closure of a Keighley supermarket has been blocked. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ruled against the £12 billion deal between Sainsbury’s and Asda, claiming it would result in higher prices for consumers. There were concerns that if the move went ahead, the axe would have fallen on one of the companies’ Keighley stores – which are situated on neighbouring sites, separated only by the Airedale railway line.

The CMA decision is welcomed by Keighley MP John Grogan.

“I campaigned hard against the proposed merger,” he said.

“If it had been given the green light I believe it could well have led to a big store closure in the town.

“I think this decision is in the interests of maintaining customer choice in Keighley and also is the one most likely to secure jobs.

“The retail sector is already concentrated enough in our country.”

In its report, the CMA said shoppers and motorists would be “worse off” if Sainsbury’s and Walmart-owned Asda were to merge – with higher prices and reductions in quality and the range of products.

And it said the deal would have resulted in a “substantial lessening of competition” at both a national and local level for people shopping in supermarkets.

Sainsbury’s and Asda had offered to sell up to 150 stores as part of efforts to address competition concerns, and claimed that shoppers would be deprived of lower prices should the merger be blocked.

But following the ruling, the companies have confirmed a mutual agreement to terminate the transaction and that there are no plans to appeal.