Sainsbury’s Merger Blocked in UK

CBJ — British regulators have refused Sainsbury’s $12 billion purchase of Walmart’s Asda unit amid concerns the deal would have increased prices and reduced the quality and range of products available.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the deal creating the U.K.’s biggest supermarket chain would lead to a poorer overall shopping experience across the country, even in places where there was no direct overlap. It also found that motorists would be forced to pay more at over 125 locations where Sainsbury and Asda have gas stations near one another.

Walmart, meanwhile, is pulling back from its international operations as it faces challenges establishing its budget shopping model in foreign markets and focuses on big growth opportunities.