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Co-op completes Nisa Retail acquisition

RBR Staff Writer Published 08 May 2018

The Co-op has completed the acquisition of Nisa Retail, a brand and buying group of independent retailers and wholesalers in the UK.

The transaction was sanctioned by a court in London following approval by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) towards the end of last month.

The £140m deal was approved by Nisa’s member back in last November. Co-op stated that the transaction creates an environment where independent retailers can flourish.

The acquisition brings the benefit of competitive prices and promotions for Nisa Partners.

Ken Towle has been appointed as Nisa’s new CEO and will replace Arnu Misra, who acted as the interim CEO and helped in completing the transaction. Misra will remain in the business to ensure smooth transition for the team.

Co-op Retail CEO Jo Whitfield said: “This is exciting news. Co-op and Nisa have all the ingredients for a successful partnership which will include the offer of award-winning Co-op own brand products.

"It will give Nisa Partners a wholesale operation of scale, allowing them the flexibility to trade their businesses in the way they choose, whilst benefiting competitive prices and promotions on an industry leading own brand.”

Co-op’s strategy is to get its own brand product closer to communities and its new business is expected to create new product offer for Nisa Partners in engaging with their shoppers across the country.

In April, the CMA stated that the merger of Co-op and Nisa does not give rise to competition concerns. CMA stated that Co-op being a groceries retailer and Nisa being a groceries wholesaler do not compete head-to-head.

However, as Nisa supplies to more than 4,000 groceries, the CMA had consider the potential impact of the merger on competition between shops.

During its investigation, CMA found that Nisa-supplied stores could still be free to set their own prices and decide which products to stock after the merger and so the merged company would be not be able to directly determine how they compete.

It also examined whether the merged company could raise prices or reduce service quality for retail or wholesale customers. It found that the present retail and wholesale competition made this unlikely.

Image: The Co-op’s headquarters in Manchester. Photo: Courtesy of The Co-op Group/Flickr.