Travis Perkins merger delayed

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The Independent Online

Travis Perkins's £558m takeover of rival builders' merchants BSS has been delayed by at least a month as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) scrutinises the deal more thoroughly.

On Friday, the OFT extended the deadline for the examination of the deal from Tuesday to 19 October. Travis Perkins, led by chief executive Geoff Cooper, had hoped to formally start the merger under a scheme of arrangement, which involves the courts, on 22 October. However, this was dependent on approval by the original timetable. It is widely expected that the OFT will grant approval, though the new group could be asked to sell around 10 branches, out of a combined total of about 1,700, to ensure competition in certain areas.

Bankers involved in the deal have been surprised by the detail the OFT has demanded. New court dates will have to be organised, which will take some time.