Tens of thousands of jobs could be lost in Manchester and Liverpool if the Barclay brothers' acquisition of GUS's home shopping business is blocked.
The millionaire brothers own Liverpool-based Littlewoods Home Shopping, as well as GUS, now Shop Direct, representing a quarter of the home shopping market.
But the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has to decide if this is too big a market share.
Around 19,000 jobs could be at risk if the move is stopped according to The Sunday Telegraph.
The newspaper reported that union leaders and competitors have urged the OFT to clear the bid in an attempt to secure the jobs, the vast majority of which are in Manchester and Liverpool.
Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, owners of Littlewoods, are keen to
build GUS's catalogue business, for which they paid £450m in May, with a
further £140m payable in three years.
However if the bid does fail and they are unable to find a buyer the cost would be minimal as they are currently owed £800m by GUS's home shoppers, the newspaper said.