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Thailand: Tesco deal faces close regulatory scrutiny

 |  January 8, 2020

Tesco’s planned sale of its Thai operations will be subject to close scrutiny, Thailand’s competition regulator has warned, adding that he is prepared to impose fines or ban the deal outright if any laws were to be breached.  

The comments from Sakon Varanyuwatana, chairman of Thailand’s Office of Trade Competition Commission, signalled that the deal, expected to be worth US$8 billion—US$98 billion and one of Asia’s biggest M&A transactions this year, could face regulatory opposition. Three of the expected bidders already have significant Thai retail operations. 

 “We have to consider the operation in 360 degrees and study whether it would have any anti-competitive structure or behaviour after the merger or not,” said Mr Sakon. “We have the authority to prohibit the merger or acquisition if we believe it will lead to a monopoly.”  

UK grocery group Tesco announced last month that it had begun a review of strategic operations for its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, including “evaluation of a possible sale.” It has 1,967 stores in Thailand, plus a number of shopping centers, and 74 outlets in Malaysia.

Full Content: Financial Times

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