CMA approves Celesio's £125m Sainsbury's deal

Celesio has been given the go ahead to acquire Sainsbury’s pharmacy business and says it will get to work rebranding 281 pharmacies as branches of LloydsPharmacy. The acquisition, which has been approved today by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) exactly one year after a partnership agreement worth £125 million was first announced, will see 2,700 new employees joining the LloydsPharmacy workforce from 1 September.

Sainsbury’s pharmacy employees from 277 in-store and four hospital pharmacies will be transferred to LloydsPharmacy under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulation, or TUPE.

The CMA has identified 12 local regions in which such an acquisition could be expected to lead to a ‘substantial lessening of competition’, and as a result one existing Lloyds pharmacy in each of these areas is required to be sold.

Cormac Tobin, managing director of LloydsPharmacy and Celesio UK, said that the expansion will allow greater numbers of customers to benefit from the company’s service-led approach, with services such as pain management and blood pressure checks to be rolled out to the acquired branches.

Mr Tobin commented: “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.”

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