Press release

CMA publishes issues statement in pharmacy merger

The CMA has published an issues statement as part of its investigation into Celesio’s anticipated acquisition of Sainsbury’s pharmacy business.

A pharmacist talking to a customer.

The merger was referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation in December.

Celesio AG (Celesio), through its subsidiary Lloyds Pharmacy Limited (Lloyds), operates 1,542 pharmacies across the UK, while Sainsbury’s owns 277 pharmacy stores, generally within or next to existing Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

The independent inquiry group of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) panel members must decide whether, if the acquisition is completed, a relevant merger situation will be created and, if so, whether that may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services. The inquiry group must report by 13 June 2016.

The issues statement identifies clearly for all interested parties the key questions that the inquiry is examining. The issues statement does not imply that the inquiry group has yet identified any competition concerns. The full issues statement is available on the case page along with all other published information relating to the inquiry.

Anyone wishing to respond to the issues statement should do so in writing, by no later than 5pm on 9 February 2016. Please email or write to:

Project Manager
Celesio/Sainsbury’s merger inquiry
Competition and Markets Authority
Victoria House
Southampton Row

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law.
  2. The Celesio/Sainsbury’s inquiry group consists of Simon Polito (Inquiry Chair), Sarah Chambers, Stephen Oram, and Tim Tutton.
  3. All the CMA’s functions in phase 2 merger inquiries are performed by independent inquiry groups chosen from the CMA’s panel members. The appointed inquiry group are the decision-makers on phase 2 inquiries.
  4. The CMA’s panel members come from a variety of backgrounds, including economics, law, accountancy and/or business; the membership of an inquiry group usually reflects a mix of expertise and experience (including industry experience).
  5. For more information on the CMA see our homepage or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on mergers cases.
  6. Enquiries should be directed to Siobhan Allen (, 020 3738 6460) or Rory Taylor (, 020 3738 6798).
Published 26 January 2016