Morrison acquires Safeway

Published:
19 December 2003
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The UK’s fifth largest supermarket chain, William Morrison, has acquired the fourth largest multiple, Safeway.
Consolidation within the UK retail sector continued when William Morrison Supermarkets on Monday purchased its slightly larger rival, Safeway, for approximately DKK 33 billion. The new company will have a turnover of around DKK 150 billion.

William Morrison operates in Central and Northern England while Safeway is strong in Scotland and Southern England. The deal creates a nationwide chain with 552 outlets of which 53 must be disposed of in order to meet the UK’s competition authorities’ requirements.

The acquisition brings to a conclusion twelve months of negotiations during which the UK’s three largest multiples (Tesco, Asda and J. Sainsbury) also bid for Safeway. Rejecting bids from the three on competitive grounds, the competition authorities in the end gave the thumbs up to William Morrison.

The new company will control 15.6 % of the UK retail sector. Tesco remains the largest with a market share of 27% while the Wal-Mart-owned Asda has slightly below 17%. J. Sainsbury accounts for around 16 %.
Between them the four chains account for approx. 75 % of the UK’s retail sector.

Arla Foods is an international dairy company owned by 9,900 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Arla Foods is one of the leading players in the international dairy arena with well-known brands like Arla®, Lurpak®, Puck® and Castello®. Arla Foods is focused on providing good dairy nourishment from sustainable farming and operations and is also the world's largest manufacturer of organic dairy products.

Press contact

Arla Group Press Office
Arla Group Press Office (journalists/media only) pressoffice@arlafoods.com +4591310310
Åse Andersson
Åse Andersson Head of Media Press contact for Arla Foods in Denmark aasan@arlafoods.com +45 91 310 310 +45 89 38 10 00
Carina Østergaard
Carina Østergaard External Communication Manager Press contact for Arla Foods International caoes@arlafoods.com +45 91 31 16 01 +45 89 38 10 00