The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has said it is considering whether the acquisition by UK supermarket chain Waitrose of 19 stores from Wm Morrison Supermarkets will lead to any competition concerns.

If a “relevant merger situation” is found, the OFT will decide whether the deal should be referred to the Competition Commission for investigation, reported Dow Jones International News.

Morrisons announced last week that it had agreed to sell 19 stores to Waitrose. Fourteen of the stores being sold to Waitrose are stores which Morrisons is required to sell as part of its agreement with the OFT relating to its merger with Safeway. Eighteen of the stores being sold are Safeway stores. One store is the Morrisons store at Southport which Morrisons has elected to sell instead of the Safeway store in that location. 

In order to gain competition approval for its takeover of larger rival Safeway, Morrisons agreed to dispose of 52 Safeway stores if the merger was successful.