Safeway denies re-starting talks on Asda merger

Safeway yesterday denied that it has re-started talks with the competition authorities over whether the Government would block a merger with Asda. The supermarket group said it had not had any contact with the regulatory authorities since September, when talks over the pounds 9bn merger broke down.

"There has been no attempt to re-open the confidential guidance process," said a spokesman, who added that the constant speculation was disruptive. Asda said last week that it had not had any recent contact with Safeway and ruled out a hostile bid for the company.