Thailand’s competition watchdog has issued a probe into the potential sale of UK supermarket giant Tesco‘s Asian assets, on fears the successful buyer may potentially control too much of the market.

The Office of Trade and Competition said it has set up a special investigation team to monitor developments in the divestment of the Tesco Lotus business.

At the end of last year, Tesco announced it was weighing up plans for the Asia retail business, which could result in the sale of the Thailand and Malaysia-based stores. 

The group reportedly trades from 1,967 stores in Thailand. Tesco Lotus Thailand stores stock the supermarket’s F+F clothing line.

In a report by the BBC, concerns in the market are growing that the buyer of Tesco’s Thailand assets could end up controlling more than 50% of the convenience, supermarket and hypermarket retail landscape.

CP Group, the Central Group, and the TCC Group are all understood to be in the running according to the news outlet, and all are at risk of monopolising the market to varying degrees.

The anti-competition rules could mean Tesco may not get the price it wants for the stores.