Britain's competition regulator said on Tuesday it had formally launched an inquiry into the acquisition of British supermarket group Asda by the Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital.
In October, Mohsin and Zuber Issa and TDR agreed to buy a majority stake in Asda from US giant Walmart in a deal giving the chain an enterprise value of $8.8 billion.
At the time Walmart said it expected the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to consider the deal.
The CMA said on Tuesday it had invited interested parties to comment by 22 December and set a 18 February 2021 deadline for a 'phase 1' decision.
Last year, Walmart's attempt to sell Asda to rival Sainsbury's for £7.3 billion was thwarted by the CMA but analysts see few problems with the latest deal.