Sainsbury's/ Asda merger decision could be delayed

The decision as to whether to approve the multi-billion pound merger of Sainsbury's and Leeds-based Asda may be delayed.

A court ruling has indicated that a final regulatory verdict on the £7.3 billion takeover will be moved to the end of April.

The decision had been due in early March but the revised deadline of April 30 was “now recognised to be necessary”, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) said in a judgement made on December 14 and published on Friday.

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As things stand the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator is due to publish its provisional findings on the deal by early February and its final report in early March.

Any extension of the final deadline, by up to eight weeks, is a decision for the CMA and would likely not be made public until it publishes its provisional report.

“We continue to work constructively with the CMA,” said a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s.