Morrisons £7bn private equity takeover approved by CMA

Morrisons’ £7bn takeover by US private equity firm Clayton, Dublier & Rice has been approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as the competition watchdog has announced it can go ahead.

The confirmation comes after the US equity firm, which also own the Motor Fuel Group, won an auction to buy the Bradford Big 4 grocer last year.

As Motor Fuel Group is the UK’s largest independent petrol operator with 921 forecourts, the move generated concerns around the proposed Morrisons takeover. The grocer operates 335 fuel outlets across England, Scotland and Wales.

READ MORE: Morrisons and Asda are most at risk of customer desertion

As a result, the takeover would have granted CD&R control over 1,200 of the UK’s 8,000 petrol stations, sparking concerns over how it would affect petrol prices for consumers.

The Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation in January to analyse if dominating petrol outlets would affect prices.

However, the CMA has now formally accepted an offer from CD&R to sell 87 of its MFG run forecourts in areas of concern to push through with the takeover.

According to the CMA the proposal seemed “to be suitable to restore the loss of competition brought about by the deal across each of the 121 local areas in which the concerns were identified”.

The CMA added that while the number of sites proposed for sales is lower than the number of areas previously highlighted – selling some petrol stations will mitigate some concerns in multiple areas.

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