Russia’s anti-monopoly service has granted X5 Retail Group permission to acquire local grocery chain Kopeika but said Russia’s largest retailer by sales must offload stores to secure a deal.

X5 is in talks to buy discount chain Kopeika and approached the country’s competition watchdog for approval should it succeed in acquiring the business.

The competition watchdog has placed restrictions on any acquisition to prevent X5 from taking more than a 25% market share in nine of the districts Kopeika operates in.

An X5 spokesperson told just food today (10 September) it would have to offload between 24-27 outlets for the acquisition to go ahead, although the spokesperson said Russia’s largest retailer expected disposals to be needed.

The spokesperson added that X5 and Kopeika are still in negotiations over any deal but could not reveal how far the talks had progressed.

Meanwhile, X5 announced today that its search for a new CFO was continuing but in the meantime the company has decided to appoint deputy CFO Anton Volyanskiy as acting CFO.