Cousins could not be reached for comment.Shares in Tesco traded up 9 percent at 206p and Booker had risen 16.7 percent to 213.8p by 1550 GMT.The deal would give Tesco a greater slice of Britain's 85 billion pounds "out of home" food market including cafes, restaurants and takeaways which is growing at a greater pace than the 110 billion pounds "eat at home" market.Investors welcomed the transaction, that will also see Booker CEO Charles Wilson join the Tesco board."We were surprised, pleasantly," said Richard Marwood, senior fund manager at Royal London Asset Management which is a top ten Booker shareholder.Tesco will gain exposure to the 120,000 independent retailers, 107,000 small businesses and 450,000 caterers Booker serves. Booker clients include chains such as Wagamama, Carluccio's, Byron, as well as celebrity chef Rick Stein.Booker owns about 200 cash and carry warehouses in the UK and supplies the Budgens, Londis and Family Shopper grocery chains, which are run as franchise operations."This merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco's growth prospects by creating the UK's leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital," said Lewis.Tesco and Booker said the deal would lead to synergies of at least 200 million pounds within three years, from procurement, distribution and central functions, and would boost earnings per share in the second full year of the deal.Implementation costs would be about 145 million pounds. Lewis said no job losses had been identified.However, analysts said the deal could face close regulatory scrutiny.However, Lewis and Wilson, who owns about 6 percent of Booker's equity, disagreed, saying their legal advice had indicated a "compelling story" to gain approval."As a retailer and a wholesaler coming together, this is not an acquisition of stores.
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