Australia’s Federal Court has dismissed an application by the country’s watchdog to stop local retailer Metcash proceeding with the acquisition of rival Franklins.

In November, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched court proceedings to prevent Metcash from buying Franklins from South African retailer Pick n Pay. The ACCC said a deal would “result in a substantial lessening of competition through the removal of Metcash’s closest and only genuine competitor for the wholesale supply of packaged groceries in New South Wales”.

The ACCC’s bid to halt the sale took a blow in April, when The Sydney Morning Herald reported it had abandoned Spar International’s Australian business as a competitive alternative owner of Franklins.

The Federal Court’s dismissal of the ACCC’s application means Metcash can continue with its bid to acquire Franklins, which has 80 corporate stores and supplies ten franchised outlets, all of which are located in New South Wales.