Iceland planning to bid for Sasda supermarkets - report

11 February 2019

(Sharecast News) - Frozen food specialist Iceland may bid for a handful of stores that Sainsbury's and Asda are likely to be forced into selling in order to get clearance for their proposed merger.

The Competition & Markets Authority is this week expected to release its findings of an in-depth probe into Sainsbury's merger with US retail giant Walmart's Asda chain, having said it would release its provisional findings and consider possible remedies in "early February" at the latest.

The combined 'Sasda' group would have 2,800 stores across the UK - including the Argos business already owned by Sainsbury's. There are differing estimates of the number of stores the pair will need to offload, from around 75 to as many as 300.

A senior Iceland executive told the <em>Financial Times</em> that larger superstores "would be too big" but it would be possible to redevelop and "carve up" the units.

Iceland has around 900 stories, including the near-100 larger-format The Food Warehouse stores in retail parks that it has rolled out since 2014, expanding out of its traditional base in town centres and taking a leaf out of the efficient store designs of German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Once the CMA's provisional decision is given, supermarkets and other interested parties will be able to comment before the final decision, which has a 5 March deadline.

If the final decision goes against them, the supermarkets could decide to appeal.