UK competition regulator probes $10 billion Morrisons deal


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has stepped up its examination of Big 4 grocer Morrisons and whether the buyout by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) will result in higher fuel prices on forecourts across the UK.

The CMA announced yesterday (Thursday 27 January) that it has formally opened an investigation into whether Morrison’s recent takeover by U.S. private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Holdings (CD&R) will reduce choice for supermarket customers across the UK.

Read more: Morrisons exits stock market ahead of £7bn takeover

Currently CD&R owns around 900 UK petrol stations as part of its Motor Fuel company whilst Morrisons has around 335.

However, fears arise of reducing competition and money matters as the merger will result in the group controlling over than 1,200 of the country’s 8,000 petrol stations

In statement, the CMA said it will examine whether the deal will “result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

The market watchdog has given a deadline of 25 March for a preliminary decision on the acquisition and is inviting comments from interested parties.

Morrisons was sold to a consortium led by the American firm CD&R for £7bn ($9.43bn) in October last year. Former Tesco boss Terry Leahy is a senior adviser at the buyout business.

The U.K. regulator will look at whether the transaction constitutes a lessening of competition within the country, it said.

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