Celesio has been given the go-ahead to proceed with its £125m acquisition of Sainsbury's pharmacy business.
The Competition and Markets Authority has approved Celesio's takeover of 281 Sainsbury pharmacies – 277 in store and four in hospitals – all of which will be rebranded as Lloydspharmacy. Sainsbury's pharmacy staff will transfer to Lloydspharmacy under TUPE.
The CMA has identified 12 local geographic areas where the acquisition of Sainsbury's pharmacies may be expected to result in a lessening of competition. As a result, Celesio will be "working over the coming months to remedy the situation and ensure that LloydsPharmacy colleagues in the affected areas are supported during the transition". This will involve selling some pharmacies.
Cormac Tobin (pictured), managing director of LloydsPharmacy and Celesio UK, said: “Sainsbury’s is a leading UK retailer, which has created an attractive pharmacy business. As a specialist pharmacy operator we can build on this strong foundation to offer Sainsbury’s customers a more enhanced health offering. We also gain access to new customer groups and to new locations where LloydsPharmacy’s physical bricks and mortar presence is not currently as strong."