Watchdog may have stopped Amazon bidding for supermarkets

Amazon may have ditched potential bids for supermarkets over concerns about Britain’s competition watchdog.

Speaking to The Times, sources said the tech titan is not considering UK acquisitions because it thinks the regulator is too interventionist.

City analysts have previously suggested Amazon could expand its grocery business by buying supermarkets.

Some thought it could enter the bidding war for Morrisons, which was eventually auctioned off to a private equity firm for £7.1 billion.

READ MORE: Amazon plots 260 store openings in grocery ‘power play’

This year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was given powers to make “Big Tech” companies follow a code on “fair trading, trust and transparency”.

Amazon is thought to be lobbying against the reform, arguing its approach would stop it moving into adjacent markets and stymie innovation.

The CMA started an in-depth investigation into Amazon’s 16 per cent stake in Deliveroo last year, warning it could go further if the multinational took more control.

It has told the government that there are “widely held concerns about historic underenforcement against digital mergers in the UK and around the world”.

The regulator has also been unfazed by facing down grocery goliaths.

In 2019, it blocked a merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda after concluding that the move would mean higher prices.

A CMA spokesman said it would promote “greater competition and innovation” among digital firms and protect consumers “from unfair practices.”

Amazon declined to comment.

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