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Tesco: Adminstore Appeal Will Be Dismissed Quickly

LONDON - Tesco PLC said today that it expects an appeal against the decision to approve its purchase of convenience store operator Adminstore to be dismissed quickly by the United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT), according to Dow Jones Business News.

Tesco issued a statement in which it said it expects the appeal, launched Friday by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, or FDR, and Big Food Group, to be over shortly.

Big Food, which runs the Iceland supermarket chain, and the FDR, a lobby group for U.K. food distributors, appealed on the grounds that the purchase would negatively affect competition and further boost Tesco's buying power.

"This is a matter for the OFT," the Tesco statement said. "They published a very full decision, and no doubt they will explain their findings to the Appeals Tribunal."

The acquisition of Adminstore -- which operates under the Cullens, Europa Foods, and Harts the Grocer banners -- was cleared March 5. Big Food chief executive Bill Grimsey commented at the time that the decision would let a few supermarket chains "control food supplies, distribution channels and prices unchecked."

Tesco said today that the Adminstore deal was good for consumers and caused no competition concerns. "We expect the Tribunal to reach the same conclusion," the supermarket chain added.
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