Tesco’s cross-Channel alliance with Carrefour could be called into question after the French antitrust authority opened an investigation into the impact of the tie-up.
The Autorité de la concurrence said yesterday that it was looking into three buying alliances: one between Auchan, Casino, Metro of Germany and Shiever, the distribution group; and two involving Carrefour, including that with Tesco.
The inquiry has been launched to “assess the competitive impact of these purchasing partnerships on the concerned markets, both upstream for the suppliers and downstream for the consumers.”
It said it would be “interrogating the suppliers concerned in these agreements, along with competitors not directly involved” and it called on any interested parties to alert it to “any possible concerns that they might have.”
Tesco revealed that its intentions to enter into a long-term strategic alliance with the French rival aimed at reducing costs in the fight against Amazon and discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.
Some have said it was a direct response to Sainsbury’s proposed £12 billion merger with Asda.
Tesco is valued at nearly £25 billion and Carrefour at around £9 billion.