Wellington, Aug 15 NZPA - Australian supermarket operator Woolworths Ltd is taking the fight with the New Zealand Commerce Commission over its right to bid for discount retailer The Warehouse to the Supreme Court.
Woolworths said it would seek leave from the Supreme Court to appeal the recent decision of the Court of Appeal setting aside clearance for Woolworths to acquire The Warehouse.
The application for leave will be filed shortly. The Supreme Court is the highest court in New Zealand.
In July the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that had allowed rival grocery firms to bid for The Warehouse.
The appeal court's decision prevented Woolworths and New Zealand co-operative Foodstuffs from bidding for The Warehouse, this country's largest listed retailer, in a deal that could be worth over $2 billion.
Foodstuffs and Woolworths each have 10 percent stakes in The Warehouse and went to the High Court to overturn a Commerce Commission decision to block any potential takeover.
The Commerce Commission appealed that decision. It welcomed the appeal court's ruling as a "victory for supermarket consumers and competition in markets".
A Foodstuffs spokesman said the co-operative was still considering if it would appeal and it had a week or so to do so.
An issue in the case is whether The Warehouse's move into food retailing in big format stores will be successful and provide competition in the grocery sector.
Foodstuffs and Woolworths have about half each of the supermarket market in New Zealand and they run a number of different branded stores to service different parts of the market.
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