Germany's competition watchdog has reaffirmed the May deadline for its decision on Edeka's proposed acquisition of Tengelmann's Plus discount chain.

Under a deal struck in November, Edeka will take a 70% stake in a joint venture that will operate its Netto discount outlets and Tengelmann's Plus stores. Tengelmann will hold the remaining 30%.

After Germany's cartel office raised concerns that the merger would restrict market competition, the watchdog said it would need more information on the deal before coming to a decision.

The original deadline for a decision was 28 April. This was then extended to 16 May and local reports have suggested further delays.

According to a report in Financial Times Deutschland, which cited "company sources" at Edeka and Tengelmann, the cartel office is likely to take "longer than expected" to come to come to a decision.

However, when contacted by just-food today (29 April), a spokesperson for the Bundeskartellamt reaffirmed its 16 May deadline.

"The official deadline for a decision is in mid-May," the spokesperson commented. "We are considering the companies' comments."

In defence of the merger, Edeka and Tengelmann reportedly told the watchdog yesterday that they would create 3,000 new jobs.