Morrisons is inching closer to completing its takeover of McColls as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it will not be escalating the investigation into its second phase.
In a statement, the CMA said it will accept the supermarket’s undertaking that it will sell 28 stores from McColl’s existing estate in lieu of referring the acquisition for a Phase 2 investigation. This means the competition watchdogwill take Morrisons’ word that it will “act in good faith” and divest itself of the McColls stores “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
It takes the supermarket one step closer to being able to sign off the £190m rescue bid it launched to save convenience chain McColl’s after it fell into administration, threatening 16,000 jobs and 1,100 stores from closure.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “I am pleased that the acquisition of McColl’s has cleared the final regulatory hurdle. McColl’s is a business with great potential and over the last few months we have been making plans for its integration into Morrisons, for investment and for growth. We will be outlining these plans shortly.”
The CMA launched the first stage of its investigation into Morrisons’ takeover back in July. It found that while the takeover would not harm most shoppers or other businesses, it raised competition concerns in 35 areas.
Morrisons said it would address these concerns by divesting 28 McColl’s stores, provisionally clearing the way for the completion of the takeover, a move which the CMA said that it would be likely to accept earlier this month.